Carved to capture a dynamic sense of movement, this piece is notable for the finely rendered details as seen in the scales, fins and tails of the two fish. The craftsman has skilfully incorporated the natural russet inclusions of the stone to add a naturalistic depth and texture to the piece. This carving captures the moment a carp has successfully swum against the current of the Yellow River and leaped up at the Dragon Gate to transform into a powerful dragon.
A related carving of this subject, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, was included in the exhibition Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum Taipei, Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo, 2014, cat. no. 194; another in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, is illustrated in René-Yvon Lefebvre d’Argencé, Chinese Jades in the Avery Brundage Collection, Tokyo, 1977, pl. LXX; and a third included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages, London, 1975, cat. no. 421, was sold in these rooms, 9th October 2007, lot 1210. See also a jade carving of two conjoined dragon-fish of the same size, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Jadeware (III), Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 49.