Bowls of this type are known as 'marriage' bowls, and with their carefully chosen auspicious decoration, were popular in Qing dynasty China, specially under the reign of the Qianlong emperor.
The interior of the bowl is carved with five bats flying freely amidst ruyi clouds and encircling a shou character. The word for bats in Chinese, fu, combined with the number five, wu, creates the rebus wufu which refers to the Five Blessings - longevity, health, weatlh, love of virtue and a peaceful death.
The bowl is supported on four caparisoned elephant feet, each bearing a vessel with flower stems on its back. Elephants were indigenous to China in pre-historic times and survived in the south until comparatively recently. Buddhists regarded them as a symbol of the Universal ruler because of their strength and size.