May you be the only one who can stand on the head of a dragon-carp
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During the Tang and Song dynasties, there were large dragon–carp (鳌鱼) reliefs on the steps in front of the imperial palace. In the era of imperial examinations, the scholar who scored number one would stand on the head of the embossed giant to receive the announcement of the ranking. Therefore, the person who can make it and stand on the image of a dragon-carp head is considered as a champion. Later, the term ‘Standing on the Head of a Dragon-Carp’ is symbolic for ‘winning the first place in the competition’.
Related Figures and Stories:
Related Pun Picture:
Fig 1: porcelain desk stand in the form of a screen with relief, 1540–1600 (circa), courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum
Fig 2: famille verte porcelain brushpot, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, formerly in the Robert McPherson collection
Fig 3: porcelain brushpot with overglaze enamelled decoration, Kangxi period (1662–1722), Qing dynasty, courtesy of Princessehof Ceramics Museum, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, photo by Mr JP Kim