The cat-fish motif was commonly used in Chinese iconography from the Song dynasty onwards. Its name, nian, is a homophone for the word for 'year', and the cat-fish's head is shaped like a ruyi fungus. In this instance, the combined imagery of the two cat-fish and the lingzhi spray forms the auspicious greeting, nian nian ruyi, 'May your wishes come true, year after year', which is particularly apt as a New Year salutation. It also forms the rebus jixiang youyu, which is a wish for great fortune and abundance. On a more basic level, paired fish also symbolise a successful marriage.