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Koi. A fish of legend, a symbol of strength, perseverance, hope and luck. Aptly named Nishikigoi, or “swimming jewel” from the Japanese; many believe that having this iconic fish near you will attract good luck, fortune, and give spiritual benefits. These beliefs come from the fish’s claim to fame.

The Waterfall Legend

Legend has it that ages ago, a school of golden koi fought the strong currents of the Yellow River in China only to reach a waterfall. While many let the flow of the river carry them back to easy currents, some refused to give up. Using all of the strength gained from their perseverance they jumped for 100 years until finally one reached the top. The gods recognized the koi for its perseverance and determination and turned it into a golden dragon, the image of power and strength. 

Find this legend told wonderfully by KoiStory.

koi fish animal fine art photography dark film artwork
Soul of the Koi - Limited Edition of 10

Recognized by Japanese fish farmers in the early 1800’s for their remarkable beauty, koi quickly turned from food to cherished gifts. One such cherished koi named Hanako is famous world wide for her remarkable age. After being passed down 7 generations of family Hanako lived to the incredible age of  226 years old! 

After decades of breeding in the perfect conditions many variations of koi were born. Now these graceful fish are collected by beginner enthusiast and nobles alike.

There are no two koi who are the same; their color, their patterns make each fish individual works of art. This is why many collectors of Koi see their fish as “living artwork, or living jewels”. 

gold pattern koi artwork leela moon art
Golden Dragon - Limited Edition of 10

Similar to the range of quality and monetary value in art, the koi fish also has a wide range when it comes to value. But as every serious collector knows, quality comes with a matching price tag.

While some fish may only cost $50, perfect for the entry level buyer, a seasoned collector will likely not spend less than $2000 for a truly majestic fish, one that he knows will bring more value to his collection.

It is not unordinary for a single koi collectors pond to house $100,000 in fish.  In fact, the most expensive koi ever sold was for a whopping $1.7 Million Dollars. And according to Money Inc. koi are currently valued at $2.2 million dollars. 

So Why Do People Treasure Koi So Much?

two koi swimming fine art animal photography
Of Luck and Beauty - Limited Edition of 10

There is a great respect for the process. Very few koi will make it past the initial culling process, and fewer still will turn into the large swimming jewels of koi collectors dreams. 

Beyond just the beauty of Nishikigoi, the therapeutic effects of observing and interacting with fish is widely cherished. Many living art collectors will spend time pondering their great thoughts while watching their cherished fish. Seeing their graceful and peaceful ways fills those who watch with a calming, melodic splendor. 

As Taro Kodama states

The appeal of Nishikigoi deepens with their graceful swim, especially the grace that comes from a koi fish with a large body. That is why they are aptly named the “swimming jewel” which describes these large beautifully colored koi swimming elegantly.

When these koi fish unite, a different kind of splendor is created. They herd together one moment before pulling away from each other the next for a breathtaking scene of color, grace, and beauty. No other aquarium fish around the world can offer such enjoyment.

With the glamorous colors, magnificent bodies, and elegant swimming; Japanese koi fish are a feast for the eyes whether they’re alone or in a pond.

The appeal of Nishikigoi deepens with their graceful swim, especially the grace that comes from a koi fish with a large body. That is why they are aptly named the “swimming jewel” which describes these large beautifully colored koi swimming elegantly. When these koi fish unite, a different kind of splendor is created. They herd together one moment before pulling away from each other the next for a breathtaking scene of color, grace, and beauty. No other aquarium fish around the world can offer such enjoyment. With the glamorous colors, magnificent bodies, and elegant swimming; Japanese koi fish are a feast for the eyes whether they’re alone or in a pond.

Taro Kodama
koi fish fine art photography wall art leela moon
Tail of the Koi - Limited Edition of 10

I hope you have enjoyed reading and understanding more about the art of collecting koi. After all, the more you understand about your subject the more you appreciate it’s worth.

Want to know more about the artwork you see here and the process of making it the highest quality artwork? Click Here!

See the artistic nature of Koi, and start or add to your own Koi collection, here at my Spirit of the Koi Collection.

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