Goldfish exhibit accentuates refined lifestyle brand of mansion-turned-museum

Updated: Jul 27, 2022 By Li Yang www.chinaservicesinfo.com Print
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Goldfish have won people’s favor with their bright colors, adorable shapes, and beautiful patterns. They have been bred and raised to entertain the noble class and celebrities since China's Song Dynasty (960-1279). These aquatic animals have auspicious meanings because their genetic name “jinyu” is a homophone of “gold and jade” in Chinese language, therefore they are always associated with wealth and sufficiency.

Generations of breeders have dedicated themselves to breeding a rich variety of fish types with distinctive traits, not only for delighting the eyes, but also highlighting the nation's spirit and philosophy.

A goldfish exhibit opened on July 25 in the Prince Kung's Palace Museum, a preserved and re-purposed 18th-century aristocratic mansion tucked in the network of alleys in downtown Beijing's Shichahai Lake area.

With rows of building and an extensive garden, Prince Kung's mansion was the largest residence among those of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) princes. The layout design and architecture are fully loaded with auspicious signs. Since its opening to the public as a museum, it has attracted large numbers of visitors, and set its mission of spreading the culture of China's prince residences.

Ranchu, Pearl Scale, Ryukin, Black Moor, Oranda, Bubble Eye, and Butterfly Tail...a selection of top ornamental goldfish species from fish farms in nine provinces and cities across the country, including Beijing, will have a two-week sojourn in the garden of the museum. Bearing different patterns, the adorable creatures are displayed in such traditional vessels as giant wooden barrels and clay vats, to comply with the lush garden surroundings and pay homage to the refined Chinese lifestyle. Some of them rest in the shades of floating duckweeds, others swim freely and gaily, their fins and tails spreading like wind-blown drapery while stirring the water.

The exhibit is co-organized by the Beijing Aquatic Product Technology Promotion Department, and is made possible by supports from the Beijing fish breeding innovation team and volunteers from the Beijing Fish Keepers Society.

The department donated 360 koi fish in dozens of varieties that they have bred on their own. To provide a healthy habitat for the fish, technicians carefully measured the pond water's chemistry and made necessary improvements before they added the fish.

Apart from the outdoor display, an exhibit of the breeding history and culture of ornamental fish is being held in Anshan Hall by the ponds, showcasing fish-raising tools and archives to outline the history of goldfish breeding in China. Paintings and photographs of prize-winning goldfish are also on display.

eteran goldfish keeper Huang Hongyu explains the history of goldfish breeding at the Anshan Hall of the Prince Kung's Palace Museum [Photo Wang Wanting/for chinaservicesinfo.com]

Huang Hongyu, a veteran goldfish keeper, head of the Beijing Fish Keepers Society, and founder of Lanshou.net - an authoritative Chinese-language platform dedicated to exchanging goldfish-raising skills - was present at the opening ceremony of the exhibit. He has been a jury member of several Chinese and international goldfish contests, and has been active in spreading goldfish culture for 20 years.

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