Three other known Ding dishes of very similar form and design are known. The first is the companion to the present piece, formerly in the collections of Edward T. Chow and Robert Chang, and is currently in the Linyushanren collection, illustrated in The Classic Age of Chinese Ceramics: An Exhibition of Song Treasures from the Linyushanren Collection, Hong Kong, 2012, Catalogue, no. 6, right. The second dish with carved lotus spray meandering towards the right, is from the Meiyintang Collection in the Museum Rietberg, Zurich, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994, vol. 1, p. 205, no. 362. The third piece also with a right-hand turned lotus was formerly with Eskenazi Ltd., London, illustrated in A Dearler’s Hand: The Chinese Art World through the Eyes of Guiseppe Eskenazi, London, 2012, p. 284, no. 273. Also compare with a related example carved with a peony spray on the interior and peony scroll on the exterior, illustrated by Tsai Meifen, Decorated Porcelains of Dingzhou: White Ding Wares from the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2014, p. 86-87, no. II-41.
It is interesting to note that somewhat similar dishes can also be found in Southern Song Yue ware. Excavations at Silongkou Yue ware kiln site have revealed dishes of similar form and decoration from the Southern Song stratum; see Silongkou yueyao zhi (Silongkou Yue Ware Kiln Site), Beijing, 2002, pp. 108-113. In order to assert his legitimacy to the throne, the Southern Song Emperor Gaozong made huge efforts in re-establishing the Northern Song imperial rites and court life after fleeing to Hangzhou. According to the Southern Song official book, Zhongxing lishu (Book of Rites in the Age of Revival), in the 1st and 4th year of the Shaoxing reign (1131, 1134), the Southern Song court ordered Yuezhou and Shaoxingfu Yuyaoxian to produce ceramic ritual vessels for the imperial sacrificial hall. Gaozong not only ordered local Yue kilns to make ritual vessels but also daily wares in the Northern Song imperial style. A shard of Southern Song Yue ware dish with very similar form and design bearing yuchu (Imperial Kitchen) mark was found in Hangzhou, illustrated in Jin Zhiwei, ‘Yuchu zikuan yueci zaitan’ (Study of Yue Wares Bearing Yuchu Marks), Palace Museum Journal, 2001, no. 1, pl. 8.
Decorated Ding wares were not only treasured by the Song imperial court, but also appealed to the literati elite in the Northern Song dynasty. In a 1072 poem titled Shiyuan jiancha, Su Shi (1037-1101) wrote Dingzhou huaci zhuo hongyu (decorated porcelain of Dingzhou carves red jade). According to Tsai Meifen, Su Shi used metaphors here to depict the impression of the decorative patterns in the liquid surface of tea after pouring red tea into a decorated white Ding bowl. This is an example of decorated Ding ware being used by literati for drinking tea. An excavated covered box decorated with a similar floral pattern to the current dish is illustrated in Yishi tongdiao: Shanxi Lantian lvshi jiazu mudi chutu wenwu (Different World Same Tones: Cultural Relics from the Shaanxi Lantian Lü Family Cemetery), Beijing, 2013, pp. 162-163, no. 57.