The fashion for ormolu-mounted celadon porcelain fishes was popularised by the marchand-mercier Lazare Duvaux, whose Livre-Journal for the years 1750-6 records the sale of ten, including three to Madame de Pompadour.
One of the bajixiang or 'Eight Auspicious Emblems' of Buddhism, the double fish motif, emblematic of marital harmony and fecundity, appeared frequently in Chinese ceramics after its introduction through Tibetan Buddhism in the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). The carp further symbolised longevity.
A similar pair of vases, dating to the mid-18th century, is in the Forsyth Wickes Collection (see: J. Munger et al., The Forsyth Wickes Collection in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 1992, no. 265, pp. 292-3), while a closely related vase forms the central element of a three-piece garniture in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon (see I. Pereira Coutinho, Gulbenkian Museum, 1998, no. 100, p. 126).