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Dragon Gate Unveiling

The JFSB displays a newly donated piece of history.

On December 13, a new, historic exhibit was unveiled on the fourth floor of the Joseph F. Smith Building. Donated by BYU alumnus Ronald D. Rosado, The Dragon Gate is a carved mahogany panel painted with gold leaf that depicts a school of carp swimming upstream, with dragons flying above them. The story of how this artifact came to rest at the JFSB is as intriguing as the carvings themselves.

J. Scott Miller, dean of the College of Humanities, poses with Ronald D. Rosado, donor of the Dragon Gate.
Photo by Josh Perkey

Rosado was living in a California rental house that happened to have an exceptional oriental headboard for the master bed. Because the headboard was built into the wall Rosado assumed that it must be a reproduction, nothing more. Still, he came to love it during his time there and asked the owner of the property if they would sell it to him when he left. He agreed, and the headboard was retrieved and sold for $200. Out of curiosity, Rosado took a photo of the headboard to the de Young Museum in San Francisco where a baffled attendant informed him the headboard was actually an authentic piece of art from the Qing dynasty. Rosaldo wanted more people to be able to see and learn from the Dragon Gate, so he donated it to the BYU College of Humanities in 2022.

Ronald D. Rosado, donor of the Dragon Gate, standing next to it.
Photo by Josh Perkey

The Dragon Gate illustrates a common Chinese legend of how a humble carp can become a mighty dragon. Located at the top of a mighty waterfall lies the dragon gate. Any carp who can overcome the rushing water and leap over the gate will be transformed into a mighty dragon. J. Scott Miller, dean of the College of Humanities, explained how the carp swimming upstream are like students who work to gain an education. When the time for exams comes, students must exert all their energy to pass their test, just as the carp must exert all their strength as they attempt to jump the gate. When a carp rises out of the water and over the gate, it is transformed into a dragon, and the student who passes his or her exams is similarly transformed into a scholar.

Anyone seeking motivation on his or her own journey upstream is encouraged to come to the fourth floor of the JFSB to see The Dragon Gate and remember that even the humblest fish can, with effort, become a mighty dragon.