The design on this washer is extremely rare. The carp is rendered in an exceptionally naturalistic manner, with its belly shown as the front view.
The most closely related famille verte pieces are a pair of bowls from the T. Y. Chao collection, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 19 May 1987, lot 317, where the centre of the bowls feature a carp, turned at a three-quarter view, leaping amidst waves. Compare also the rendition of carp on a cup illustrated in Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1998, pl. 135.
Fish are considered to be auspicious on many levels. The word for fish, yu, is a homophone for abundance, while the carp is a more precious golden fish that shares a homophone with the word for profit, li. The imagery of the leaping carp refers to the proverb of the carp leaping over the Dragon Gate, an allusion to the scholar passing the state examinations to attain the position of an official.