Wucai decorated fish dishes first appeared during the Ming Dynasty, Jiajing period, a variation on the classic design found on large jars of this period.
The related, more simplified prototype for the design on the present Kangxi dishes, can be found on a Jiajing marked dish in the Percival David Foundation, London, illustrated by S. Pierson, Designs as Signs: Decoration and Chinese Ceramics, London, 2001, p. 17, no. 7 where the fish motif is discussed in detail.
A dish, very similar in design to the present pair and with the same apocryphal Jiajing reign mark, is in the National Palace Museum, Taipei , a illustrated in the Exhibition Catalogue, Good Fortune, Long Life, Health, and Peace: A Special Exhibition of Porcelains with Auspicious Designs, Taipei, 1995, p. 148, no. 71.
The design is more commonly found on dishes inscribed with the four character mark Zai chuan Zhi le, 'Rejoicing in the stream', examples of which can be found in several museum collections including one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, Vol. 38, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 146, no. 134; another from the Shanghai Museum is illustrated in Zhongguo Taoci Quanji - Jingdezhen caihui ciqi, vol. 21, Japan, 1981, no. 70; compare also one in the Percival David Foundation, London, illustrated in Ming and Ming Style Polychrome Wares, Revised Edition, London, 2006, p. 61, no. A797.
A pair of dishes from the Jingguantang Collection with Zai chuan Zhi le marks were sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 5 November 1997, lot 875; and another pair were sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 11 April 2008, lot 2966.