This unusual stembowl seems to relate most closely amongst published comparables to the bowl in the Ardebil Shrine, decorated on the interior with two birds on a crab-apple bush, and on the exterior with three similar bird and bush-sprays, see J. A. Pope, Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, pl.63. There is also a stembowl in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the gift of Mr and Mrs Stanley Herzman, 1990, formerly in the collection of F.B.C. Bravington; and a related stembowl decorated with aquatic plants in the Musée Guimet, Paris, illustrated by Lion-Goldschmidt, La Porcelaine Ming, Fribourg, 1978, pl.69.
The style of painting closely resembles that found on a small bowl dated to the late Chenghua period and excavated from the 'quality-control' spoilheaps at the Zhushan Imperial kiln site at Jingdezhen, exhibited in Hong Kong, A Legacy of Chenghua, 1993, Catalogue, no. C58; and see also the stembowl of similar proportions to the present lot, ibid., no. A8.
Compare with two other similar Chenghua period stembowls, the first painted with 'The Three Friends', sold at Christie's London, 10 June 1991, lot 121; and the other with kui dragons, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 May 2009, lot 1807.