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Goldfish adorn tide of history

Updated: 2023-09-08 08:07 ( CHINA DAILY )
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More than 10 different types and 800 individual goldfish from all over China have been gathered for an exhibition at the Prince Kung's Palace in Beijing. The exhibition will run through Sunday. XU HAOYU/CHINA DAILY

Globally, goldfish were introduced from China to Japan in 1502 during the Ming Dynasty and reached Europe between the 17th and 18th centuries, before spreading to the United States and then worldwide. Through selective breeding by several generations of people in China, Japan and Europe, more than 250 unique varieties have been created, each with its own distinctive color, fin shape, eye features and body type.

In this exhibition, visitors can also see how Chinese goldfish have evolved in countries like the United Kingdom and Thailand.

The researcher claims that the British, for example, appreciate the primitive character of the creatures, and they intend to make the goldfish stay as gracile as they were during the Song Dynasty.

"Even though the goldfish we initially sent over had plump bodies and petal-like tails, the British people ultimately managed to selectively breed them into forms with slender bodies and elongated tails," he says.

"People will shape the goldfish according to local aesthetics, cultural backgrounds and contexts. This leads to variations in the colors and tail shape of the goldfish," he adds.

Beijing has a long-standing tradition of breeding and appreciating goldfish.

The exhibition re-creates the traditional courtyard homes remembered by old Beijing natives. Varieties such as Redcap Oranda leisurely swim alongside Pearlscale goldfish in locally fired traditional clay basins, shaking their heads and wagging their tails.

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