Though Koi fish appear in Asian art, the appearance of koi has become more widespread in many art forms. Koi fish are featured in tattoo art in the United States. Many people choose to include koi fish in art or koi fish tattoo art based on what they symbolize. What do koi fish symbolize?
Many people believe that koi fish symbolize good luck, but this is probably an overgeneralization. According to Chinese legend, koi fish are the only type of fish that have made it through the Dragon’s Gate rapids of the Yellow River.
In the legend, the fish that conquer the rapids become water dragons and koi fish have been the only fish to make it. Therefore, koi fish means courage, strength, and endurance. Koi fish may also symbolize eternal happiness in conjunction with that legend.
Related meanings assigned to koi fish include determination, ambition, bravery, and achievement. Another meaning of koi fish is strength of character and perseverance against adversity. Some believe what koi fish mean is loyalty and wisdom. Some people associate koi fish with swimming against stream as in daring to be different or unique.
In American tattoo art, some people believe that characteristics of the koi fish in the tattoos have additional meanings. Some people think that the colors of the koi are significant. Meanings related to sexual orientation have been assigned to the direction in which the fish is swimming in the tattoo art.
The use of the direction of koi fish in a tattoo to symbolize sexual orientation is not widely accepted. Some people think that the colors of the koi tattoo are symbolic, but this is not a popular opinion. People may believe that the color of the tattoo should be in harmony with the person.
Colors may also be symbolic for the person getting the tattoo or tattoo artist, but the meanings of the colors in koi tattoos do not have standard meanings. The meanings of koi tattoos can be very personal and can include a combination of details.
In other art forms such as charms, koi fish symbolize wealth and prosperity, especially gold koi fish. In an actual fish pond, different colored koi may be used to represent the yin and yang. One black koi and nine gold koi are considered balanced in a koi pond. In Japanese culture, the koi is used to symbolize the family during some holiday activities.