Previously sold in these Rooms, The Imperial Sale, 27 April 1997, lot 16.
The bronze used on these bowls is of "bell quality" and especially heavily gilded. The inscription on the base gives the instruction: 'sons and grandsons forever treasure', a reference to the phrase which often concluded the inscriptions on Early Zhou dynasty bronzes.
A similar pair of bowls and bearing the same mark from the Clague Collection is illustrated in Chinese Cloisonné, The Clague Collection, Phoenix Art Museum, 1980, pl. 56, where other bowls of this type are listed from the Staatliche Museum, Berlin, and six in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. A slightly larger example (11.5 cm. diam.) in the Beijing Palace Museum collection is illustrated in Splendours of China's Forbidden City, the Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong, The Field Museum, 2004, p. 198, no. 242. A selection of these bowls displayed as part of a reconstruction of the emperor's banquet table is also illustrated, op. cit., p. 202, no. 250.