The mille fleurs or wanhuajin (myriad flower brocade) design seen on this cup was developed in the Qianlong reign (1736-95) and continued to be much admired at court during the reign of his successor the Jiaqing Emperor. The pattern is a masterpiece of design, interweaving the flowers to form a harmonious overall decoration. One scholar has identified some of the flowers incorporated in the design, noting "peonies of several kinds, lotus, chrysanthemum, magnolia, roses, hibiscus (both pink and yellow), orchids, iris, lilies (scarlet and white), asters, hydrangea, wisteria, dielytra, pomegranate, begonia, narcissus, convolvulous, syringa (white and lilac), Pyrus japonica (hai-t'ang) and double peach, Olea fragrans, cockscomb, etc." See S. Bushell, Oriental Ceramic Art, London, 1981, p. 214.
A pair of cups of this pattern and date from the Edward T. Chow collection was illustrated by C. and M. Beurdelay in La Céramique Chinoise, Fribourg, 1974, no. 151. These were later sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 25 November 1980, lot 171 and again at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 April 2001, lot 708.