Asian architecture and art often incorporate symbolism in the elements of their designs. This is especially true for Asian-influenced water fountain design. Whether your fountain is styled after Zen garden principals, feng shui, or traditional Asian Designs the symbols in your water fountain could mean many things.
Here are a few common design elements often seen with Asian-inspired water fountains:
Animals and People
Frog – Depending on the culture, frogs can be seen as slimy and cold or as symbols of transformation and good fortune. They can symbolize a happy family life, healing and good luck.
Dragonfly – As one of the best trick fliers in the insect world, dragonflies have long been admired. Dragonflies often symbolize new light, joy and strength.
Koi Fish – Koi are an ornamental carp species and are very popular in outdoor ponds and fountains. Koi symbolize perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose.
Dragons – Dragons have been known in Asian cultures as benevolent and intelligent. Asian dragons can symbolize strength, authority and mysticism.
Buddha – Siddhartha Gautama was the founder of the Buddhist religion. Buddha often symbolizes enlightenment, meditation, individualism, prosperity, and riches.
Flowers and Trees
Lotus Blossom – The lotus blossom grows in the muck at the bottom of a pond, then grows toward the water surface where it blooms. It can symbolize enlightenment and purity.
Bonsai Tree – Bonsai trees are dwarfed trees that grow in shallow pots and are pruned and trained into a shape. They can symbolize peace, harmony and good things.
Peony – Along with the plum blossom, the peony is the traditional floral symbol of China. Peonies symbolize riches, honor and nobility.
Bamboo – Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth, reaching its full height and girth in 3-4 months. Bamboo can symbolize flexibility, wisdom and experience.
Orchid – Orchids are a long-lasting plant that has a very unique and graceful appearance. They can symbolize abundance, higher growth and prosperity.
Metal and Coins
Coins – Old Chinese coins are often seen in fountains and are easily recognized by the square hole in their center. They can symbolize wealth, prosperity, and good luck.
Gold – As the most precious of metals, gold carries special meaning in many cultures. It often symbolizes perfection of mind and spirit.
Silver – Silver is often associated with the feminine and can symbolize intuition, clarity of vision and subtle strength.
Copper – Copper was once used for mirrors because of its reflective properties. It often symbolizes love, balance and artistic creativity.
Next time you purchase a water fountain, think about the symbolism of all the design elements. You might be surprised!