altar piece

One of an altar set of the Eight Buddhist Emblems, ba ji xiang. Depicts the Two Golden Fish mounted on a lotus pedestal, constructed in two detachable parts. The lotus pedestal consists of a platform surrounded by multi-tiered overlapping lotus petals, raised on a tall stem embellished with four foliate scrolls, set atop a domed embellished base with sea waves, bands of cloud motifs and bosses, and a row of curved petals at the bottom. The two golden fish symbolise salvation from suffering. They also signify freedom from all restraint, as fish move freely in water. Carved wood covered with red lacquer and gold pigment.

A set of such altarpieces would have been placed on the altar of a Buddhist temple. See McArthur, M. (2004), 'Reading Buddhist art: An illustrated guide to Buddhist signs and symbols', London: Thames & Hudson. Page 119.

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