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Double Happiness

In Chinese culture, a pair of carp symbolizes abundance, harmony, and marital happiness. An old Chinese story tells of how a man far away from home found a way to send back a pair of carp to his wife.  In opening the first fish to clean it, the wife found a love note written on a silk strip that read “Eat well to keep fit.”  In the other fish, she found a second note that read “Missing you and forget me not.”  (Now that was one thoughtful, practical husband!)

The large red symbol beneath the fish is shuang xi, or “double happiness” and is used to wish newlywed couples a long and happy marriage.  The four black characters superimposed on shuang xi read “fu, lu, shou, xi” and are are used to wish “good fortune, prosperity, longevity, and jubilation.” 

A sheet of bright golden-yellow lokta paper streaked with gold lacquer was used for this piece.  Yellow and red are traditionally regarded in Chinese culture as the most auspicious colors.  Yellow symbolizes the earth and also represented the emperors of ancient China. The name of legendary first emperor of China was Huang Di, which means “Yellow Emperor.” Red symbolizes happiness and good fortune.

Size:  29 x 19 inches  (2008)

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