'Chicken' cups from the reign of Emperor Chenghua (1465-1487) were highly treasured by both Ming and Qing courts for its subtle execution of soft enamel colours, so much so that the design was copied from the late Ming period onwards. In essence, 'chicken' cups of the early Qing period closely adhered their shape, style and design to the original Chenghua prototype, with only minor differences. It is likely that this cup was produced in the late Kangxi period, as this later interpretation shows the chickens variously positioned, although the chicken family units generally remain the same. The most notable difference is the rendering of the cockerels' solid black tail feathers, and as can be seen from the fantail-like spread of one of the cockerels in the present cup, these tail feathers display an expressive style of the brush that deviates from their Ming predecessors.
Kangxi period 'chicken' cups that are nearly identical to the Chenghua ones, include one from the Edward T. Chow Collection, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 25 November 1980, lot 138; one in the Percival David Foundation, illustrated together with the Chenghua original, Catalogue, section 5, no. A749, pl. XIV; and another from the Ma Foundation, illustrated by J. Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, p. 159, fig. 2, together with Chenghua and Yongzheng versions of the cup.