The Hongs at Canton as a decoration on Chinese export porcelain became popular from about 1765 and continued with variations until the end of the century. See the gouache on silk in the Peabody Museum of Salem of circa 1760 showing a view of the site, illustrated in the exhibition catalogue The China Trade: Romance and Reality, De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1979, fig.1, p.49, and the similar view on a scroll of circa 1760-70 in the British Library, reproduced in the exhibition catalogue Ancient Chinese Trade Ceramics, Taibei, 1994, fig.34a, p.84. These illustrate the accuracy of the design on bowls of this type.
The earliest 'Hong' bowl was made in circa 1765 for the Danish market, showing the Hongs in a panel on one side and a view of Copenhagen in a panel on the other. See B. L. Grandjean, Dansk Ostindisk Porcelaen, 1965, figs. 113-114, kat.107 for the purple-enamelled bowl of this type in the Handels- og Sofartsmuseet, Kronberg. By circa 1770-75, bowls were being made with the Hongs divided between the two panels; see D. F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, Chinese Export Porcelain, 1974, pl.54; and F. and N. Hervoüet and Y. Bruneau, La Porcelaine des Compagnies des Indes à Décor Occidental, 1986, colour pl.1.26. By about 1780, the design had developed into a continuous scene, as found on the present example. A very similar bowl in this group is in the British Museum, exhibited Ancient Chinese Trade Ceramics, Taibei, 1994, no.34; another is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, formerly in the W. Martin-Hurst Collection, illustrated by C. Le Corbeiller, China Trade Porcelain: Patterns of Exchange, 1974, no.49, and pp. 115-117 for a discussion on Hong bowls; another is illustrated by M. Beurdeley, Porcelain of the East India Companies, 1962, cat.4, p.149; and yet another, from the Mottahedeh Collection, is illustrated by D. Howard and J. Ayers, China for the West, 1978, vol.I, no.207, p.209. In 1785, The Empress of China was the first American ship to visit Canton and subsequently bowls were made showing the American flag. J. G. Phillips illustrates one such bowl in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, China-Trade Porcelain, 1960, fig.8, p.14, which was exhibited Philadelphians and the China Trade, 1784-1844, Philadelphia, 1984, no.230. On another version in the Winterthur Museum, the flag of Spain is shown.