The design of this dish appears to be based on Wanli prototypes from the 16th/17th century. Such an early small dish decorated with a related design of two dragons contesting a flaming pearl above a rock and waves below flowering and fruiting sprigs in the well and painted on the biscuit was included in the exhibition, Ceramic Evolution in the Middle Ming Period, Hongzhi to Wanli (1488-1620), 8 September 1994 - 7 February 1995, and is illustrated by R. Scott and R. Kerr in the catalogue, p. 27, no. 41.
Several later dishes of this pattern and of comparable large size like the present lot from the Kangxi period are known, but all with a yellow-ground. Such a dish sold in Our Hong Kong Rooms, Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 2 November 1999, lot 578; another dish is illustrated in Qing Porcelain of Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Periods from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 122, no. 105; a further dish is in the National Palace Museum, illustrated in Enameled Ware of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Book I, Hong Kong, 1969, pp. 62-63, pl. 7-7b; and in J. Ayers, Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1980, fig. 197. Only one other dish of this type in the green palette of the present lot is recorded in the Exhibition catalogue International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935-1936, nr.1689, p.142, illustrated pl.161.
There are two smaller and one larger dish from the Kangxi period decorated in a different style showing a dragon playing with the flaming pearl in Famille verte and Famille noire on biscuit from the collection of the Musée Guimet but with the same type of black over decorated four- character Chenghua marks flanked by two dragons like the present lot (see Chefs-d'oeuvre de la collection Grandidier de céramiques chinoises, Musée National des Arts asiatiques - Guimet, G 4832, G 4833, G 4947). These pieces are described as imperial. On plate G 4832 there is an old paper label from 1934 on which is mentioned that Sir Percival David ascertains that these black marks were added to cover the underglaze blue Kangxi marks as homage to an earlier period of Chinese history.