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  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)
    France (mounted)

  • Date:

    1730-1745 (made)
    ca. 1745-1749 (mounted)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt, with ormolu mount

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lady Bonham-Carter

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 3, case CA8

Physical description

Vase (one of a pair). Moulded in the form of a pair of leaping carp with bodies conjoined and with open mouths forming an orifice, the scales, fins, etc., being in relief, rising form a sea of breaking waves extending to the base which is flat. The fish are enamelled in coral-red with eyes picked out in black and the waves are in green, black and white. Affixed on either side of the fishes' heads are gilt metal ornaments in the form of shells with bulrushes; while the bases are set in scrolled rococo feet with acanthus-like projections and sprays of bulrushes on either face. The crowned 'C' poinçon is stamped on the scrollwork on one side.

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)
France (mounted)


1730-1745 (made)
ca. 1745-1749 (mounted)



Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt, with ormolu mount


Height: 23.6 cm without ormolu, Height: 26.2 cm with ormolu, Height: 265 mm with ormolu, Width: 265 mm with ormolu, Depth: 140 mm with ormolu

Descriptive line

Vase in the form of twin fish (one of a pair), porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt, with French ormolu mounts; China (Jingdezhen), Qing dynasty

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kerr, Rose and Luisa E. Mengoni Chinese Export Ceramics London: V&A Publishing, 2011, p.89, pl.122

Labels and date

Pair of vases

As with other tradesmen, Paris’s luxury merchants were strictly controlled by royal and guild regulation. They commissioned and imported luxury goods, partly because they were forbidden to manufacture items themselves. Here Chinese vases are complemented by mounts that feature scrolls, bulrushes and shells. The adapted vases would have harmonised with an exuberant Rococo interior.

Fish vases (1725–45): China (Jingdezhen); porcelain painted in enamels and gilded
Mounts: France (Paris); gilded brass
Given by Lady Bonham-Carter
Museum nos. FE.34, 35-1970 [09/12/2015]

Production Note



Porcelain; Ormolu


Painted; Glazed; Gilt; Mounted

Subjects depicted

Carp (fish); Bulrush; Shells


Ceramics; Porcelain; Figures & Decorative ceramics


East Asia Collection

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