The scene on these fish-bowls depicts 'The Generals of the Yang Family', taken from the novel Yang Jia Jiang, which was written in the Ming dynasty by Yong Damu. It tells the story of the Song dynasty family Yang, whose menfolk were all slaughtered by invading Khitan Tartars. Incensed, the women of the family took up arms in defence of their country. The scene here shows them practising before riding out to meet the enemy.
A pair of similarly decorated large jars and covers was sold, Christie's, New York, 25 January 2011, lot 98.