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Year Completed



2017 Pattern Research Project

Thao Khia - Koi

The Pattern Research Project involves research and analysis of contemporary patterns found in the textiles and wallcoverings of the built interior environment. Patterns use motif, repetition, color, geometry, craft, technology, and space to communicate place, time, and concept. Through this research and analysis, built environments - their designers, occupants, construction, and context - can be better understood.

Thao Kia, VCU Interior Design BFA 2020, selected the Koi pattern for the 2017 Pattern Research Project. The text below is excerpted from the student’s work:

“The Koi fish is a well-known motif in Chinese and Japanese culture. In Chinese culture, the dragon is a symbol of power. According to Chinese legend of a sturgeon of the Hang-Ho1, if the koi fish successfully pass the upstream, cross the rapids of Dragon Gate, the koi fish will transform into a powerful dragon. The story symbolizes that anybody who can persevere through great trials can accomplish their highest goals to become great. Koi Symbolism is also very prevalent in Japanese culture. It is also a symbol of energy, courage, and perseverance. A Koi swims up rivers and climbs waterfalls seem like a bravery, like a Samurai warrior2 who endeavors to surmount all difficulties to attain success. However, if the Koi gets caught, it will lie still beneath the knife, facing its death bravely like a Samurai facing a sword. Koi motif became popular in America during the late 19th century. Westerner began amassing substantial collections of Japanese art after the opening of Japanese trade to the West in 1854. One of associated Artist’s first designs for a mass-produced textile was the swimming carp pattern, which was printed on both cotton denim and silk in a variety of colorways. Koi fish was the inspiration for European American designers. However, they reinterpreted the motif for purely aesthetic purposes without regard to their original symbols.”


Non woven paper



Pattern's Place of Origin





VCUarts, Dept. of Interior Design

Date of Submission



© The Author

Pattern Research Project: An Investigation of The Pattern And Printing Process  - Koi Wallpaper