An Unusual Blue and White Chinese Export Porcelain Dish, Yongzheng Period 1723-1735. The Center of this Highly Stylised Design is of Three Fish Among Aquatic Plants. They are Surrounded by a Border of Crashing Waves, the Back is Also Decorated with a Continuous Wave Design. The Flat Rim of the Front of the Dish is Decorated Using `Wax Resist` of White on Blue with a Geometric Design.
Fish / `Yu` :
The Chinese word for fish `Yu` is pronounced in the same way as the word for abundance. So fish have come to represent prosperity and the carp is often represented as sign of success because of its perseverance, swimming up river. Pairs of fish swimming together, representing marital bliss, were common from the Southern Song (1128-1279) but it was in the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) that fish swimming with aquatic plants became a common subject, the patterns were based on popular designs found in Southern China. Some of the earliest Chinese blue and white porcelain (c.1320-1350) depicts fish swimming with plants, frequently lotus as this represented purity. These Yuan designs were shown in the center of bowls and dishes surrounded by concentric geometric borders.It was not until the 16th century that freer, more open designs of fish swimming among sea weed and crabs were popular.