Fine Edo Period Japanese Folk Painting of the Legendary Carp who Becomes a Dragon. According to the legend of the Dragon Gate Waterfall, carp gather downstream and try to swim upstream against the current and jump up the waterfall. The carp that succeeds is transformed, in a flash of lightning and thunder, into a dragon. The phrase “going through the Dragon Gate" refers to advancement and success. The carp in this painting dreams of becoming a dragon. Paintings like this were hung in young students’ rooms to motivate them to pass the civil service examinations (and nowadays, college entrance exams). Once transformed from a persevering carp, the mighty dragon ambitiously chases through the clouds after the yeoiju, the flaming magical pearl of wisdom. There is also wise counsel in this painting for the young student in the idea that fish never close their eyes, even when they are sleeping, which symbolizes eternal vigilance. The black lines at the bottom are the reflection of the camera tripod in the glass frame. Frame: 27 x 22 inches, 68.5 x 56 cm; Painting: 16 x 13 inches, 40.5 x 33 cm. From the Lea Sneider Collection.