The present dish is rare in that the flowers in the central roundel are shown as growing naturalistically from a few brush strokes which are used to designate the ground, a stylistic development that began in the early fifteenth century. A large bowl in the Topkapi Museum similarly depicts flowering plants growing from a ground rendered with a few simple brush strokes: see R. Krahl and J. Ayers in Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, vol. II, London, 1986, p. 506, no. 591. According to Krahl, prior to the fifteenth century, motifs were treated like patterns and these dishes show a move towards a more naturalistic approach. This appearance of flowers growing from the ground, rather than used solely as a design motif, was the first step towards the sophisticated painterly style seen in later Ming porcelains. Two related Yongle dishes with trees and plants growing from the ground and sprigs of flowers or plants in the cavetto are illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu - 14 - Ming Dynasty Tokyo, 1976, pp. 19-20, nos. 10 and 11.