"Koi fish are associated with perseverance in adversity. I have to admit, I didn’t draw one because of their symbolism, but as it turns out, the meaning rang quite true after I was finished. Adversity is all around us and often surprises us when we least expect it. It’s all about what you do with it that counts.”
Inspired by the celebration of resilience in Liana’s post, I am sharing a mandala intended to channel the new growth we all have achieved in the face of adversity this year. “Koi Mountain Falls” are the center of this mandala and represent the yellow river falls in the koi legends Liana referred to in her enlightening post on creative solutions. The mandala was created with a collage of the legend symbols interpreted to illustrate the narrative. The tigers are representative of the legend’s “local demons,” and the gods can be seen in the heavens at the top of the mandala, firing lightning bolts down to electrify the koi. Born to be wild, indeed. The triangle was selected as the mandala form to remind me that the mighty strong triad, with three parts all supporting each other equally, was applied to architecture as a creative solution for the collapsing square.
And the legend goes something like this…
Koi appear costumed in glorious iridescent rainbow skins that have been surprising and delighting humans for centuries. These magical carp that traveled from China to Japan deliver the fascination of dynamic motion to landscape, and offer a portal to another world with their swirls of reflective and radiating iridescence. They also possess the power to calm visitors to their pool, where concentration on their synchronized swimming can induce a sensory reset.
The Chinese gods watched the koi delight and empower humans and took flavor on them. Watching the joy of koi became a favorite pastime of the gods. They decided to reward them with the greatest honor possible and transformed some sumptuous koi into dragons. This process requires an age old, arcane incantation using ionized water, known only to the gods. They flew down to earth, armed with lighting bolts to electrify some koi so these newly omnipotent yellow dragons could protect mankind, while the non-transformed still remain to protect humans today.
One legend details a journey up the yellow river in China, where the koi face great adversity against a mountain waterfall. Many koi were discouraged and turned back while the brave persevered. Local demons watched and combatted the resilient koi trying to reach the top of the falls, and increased the height of the falls. This did not deter the koi who spent 100 years trying to reach the peak, and when one remarkable koi succeeded he was rewarded and transformed into a shiny golden dragon.
The creative solutions Liana referred to, that often only result from challenges and adversity, can occur with a step backwards for assessment. Just like a rock climbing human, the koi may fall but then discover an alternate and maybe even more fun way towards whatever your target is in life and business.
Jack Mascharka, Senior Designer