Kangxi bowls of this large size are very rare, especially those covered with an imperial yellow glaze. This rich 'imperial yellow' glaze was used as a monochrome color on porcelain vessels as early as the Xuande period.
In both the Ming and Qing dynasties, this yellow glaze was either applied directly to the pre-fired body or on top of a high-fired glaze. The former method, as seen on the current bowl, typically gave a richer, warmer, color, while the latter created an even, slightly fluid, appearance. Porcelains such as the current bowl, which are completely covered with yellow glaze are particularly prized because, according to Qing regulations, only the emperor, empress or dowager empress could use vessels which were yellow both inside and out.
Yellow bowls were not only made for use in the Palace, they were also required for rituals conducted by the Emperor at the Ditan, the Altar of Earth.
A group of Ming dynasty, yellow-glazed vessels of various types, ranging in date from the Chenghua to the Wanli periods, are in the Qing Court Collection, Beijing, and are illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 37 - Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, pp. 39-51, nos. 35-46. Included in this group is a large Jiajing-marked bowl (30.3 cm.), p. 48, no. 43, a precursor of the present Kangxi bowl.
Of the large Kangxi-marked yellow-enameled bowls that have been published, the present bowl appears to be one of the largest. Other bowls of comparable size include a pair (36.8 cm.) included in the Catalogue of Ming and Qing Monochrome Wares in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1989, p. 33, nos. A522 a & b; one in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in Illustrated Catalogue of Ch'ing Dynasty Porcelain: K'ang-hsi and Yung-cheng Ware, Tokyo, 1980, pl. 63; and the bowl (36.5 cm.) illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art, Chinese Ceramics IV, Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1995, no. 14. Large bowls in the smaller range of 31.2 to 31.6 cm. include one illustrated by J. Ayers, The Baur Collection Geneva, 1972, vol. 3, no. A446; another illustrated by R. Krahl in Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994, vol. 2, p. 230, no. 893; one in the Wang Xing Lou Collection, illustrated in Imperial Perfection, The Palace Porcelain of Three Chinese Emperors, Hong Kong, 2004, no. 91; and one formerly in the Hall Family Collection, no. 110, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 31 May 2010, lot 1867.