Goldfish

金鱼

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Goldfish is often found as a decorative motif in Chinese art. According to Chinese tradition, keeping goldfish in the house is considered auspicious, since the name for ‘goldfish’ (jin yu 金鱼) puns on the Chinese words for ‘gold 金 jin’ and ‘jade 玉 yu’ as well as the phrase ‘abundance of gold’, therefore referring to family wealth.

Related Motif:

fish

Related Pun Pictures:

May your household be piled high with gold and jade 金玉满堂

May you remain pure, clean, and incorruptible 清白廉洁

Interesting Blog:

More than naturalistic motifs: recognition of Chinese pun rebus pictures

Acknowledgement:

Fig 1-2: porcelain vase, Qianlong period (1736–95), Qing dynasty, courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei

Fig 3: ink and colour on paper fan, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei

Fig 4: paper fan, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), courtesy of the National Palace Museum, Taipei

Fig 5: glass snuff-bottle, 1903, courtesy of Palace Museum, Beijing

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