This plate forms one out of a series of six plates with inscriptions referring to the 'South Sea Bubble' mania of 1720 and the recession in Europe around the same period caused by the monetary policy of John Law and his Compagnie des Indes in France. Many investors had thought to make a lot of money by speculating on shares ('acties').
For a more elaborate discussion on the background: cf. Howard & Ayers, China for the West, p.234, 235, pl.230, 230a, 230b; Hervouët & Bruneau, pp.212-219; Lunsingh Scheurleer, 1974, nos. 254, 256, 258; Chine de Commande from the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, pp.116-117
A set of six plates were sold at Christie's Amsterdam, October 15, 1990, lot 142