THE DRAGON GATE
Illustrated poster of the Chinese legend of the carp leaping over the Dragon Gate.
The legend of the Dragon Gate originated in China during the Han Dynasty. The tale tells of hundreds of carp swimming upstream the Yellow River in China. They reached a large waterfall called the Dragon Gate and many fish turned back as they were unable to jump up the strong current of the waterfall. Several brave carp attempted to jump up the waterfall with no success, but they kept persevering. Finally, after a hundred years, one carp succeeded in leaping over the top of the Dragon Gate. The gods recognized this carp's valiant efforts and turned the fish into a majestic golden dragon.
The moral of this legend is perseverance, strength, and accomplishment. The legend was later adopted by Japanese culture and commonly shared as a folk tale. The Black Japanese Koi are a symbol of power and energy—Japanese samurais and gangs often brandish tattoos of these fish to convey their strength.
I blended elements of illustration and writing from both China and Japan to honor the shared cultural history of this legend.