The legend of the koi: many years ago, a school of koi swam up the Yellow River until they reached a waterfall. A large number of them grew discouraged and turned back, finding it much easier to simply go with the flow of the river. A few, however, stayed and tried to reach the top of the falls, jumping into the air only to fall back into the water. The local demons laughed at the efforts of the struggling koi, and sadistically increased the height of the falls. Still the koi refused give up, continuing their efforts for one hundred years. At last, with one heroic leap, a single koi reached the top of the falls. The Gods smiled down in approval and transformed the koi into a shining golden dragon who now spends his days chasing pearls of wisdom across the skies of the vast and eternal heavens.
Swimming koi became symbolic of perseverance and advancement, and are the subject of this painting.
(This piece is no longer available for purchase.)