THE seven gram gold “Double Fish” Chinese ring was recovered using a metal-detector in the vicinity of a mountain ghost-town west of Avoca.
The symbolism of the Double Fish has been revered in Chinese culture for many centuries dating back to at least the Tang dynasty (AD 618-906).
Paired fish in many forms and materials were regularly given as a good luck wedding gift to brides in ancient China. It represented unity symbolic of the joys of marriage and an exchange of sexuality.
Having double fishes in the living room was a good way of assuring an abundance of children and harmony among family members but also food provisions.
Good relationships extended to not only family generations and siblings but also to husband and wife, where divorce and separations were reduced.
A Chinese character stamped inside the ring translates as “Shan Ji”, meaning Mountain Shop, and probably refers to a business.
A remarkable quality of gold is its resistance to tarnishing and discolouration.
The illustrated ring after emerging from the ground only required a light rubbing to remove clay. Possibly 150 years after its loss by presumably a Chinese digger, the ring was slipped onto the finder’s finger and has slept with him ever since.
Already it has brought respect and an abundance of accolades to the man, mingled with a little envy, I have to admit, from his fellow prospectors.
The Bendigo Prospectors Club holds monthly field trips and welcomes newcomers.
A late-model gold detector is available for use by visitors.
Thanks Dennis for the Chinese translation.