The technique of piercing the walls of a vessel to create a delicate openwork design was known by the Chinese as 'ling long’ or 'delicate openwork’. These openwork designs would have been cut by hand when the clay was 'leather hard'. Both the cutting and subsequent firing would have required great skill. Versions were also created where the carving extends only partially into the wall of the vessel (see lot 3517). In his note to a fully-pierced example very similar to the present lot, in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Christiaan Jörg indicates that such bowls were mentioned in VOC (Dutch East India Company) records of 1643-1646, but were also made in the Wanli period (see Christiaan J.A. Jörg, Chinese Ceramics in the Collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: The Ming and Qing Dynasties, London, 1997, p. 82, no. 71).
For Wanli-period prototypes see: Margaret Medley, Illustrated Catalogue of Underglaze Blue and Copper Red Decorated Porcelains in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1976, plate XI, nos. B620 and B623, listed p. 57, and Chen Runmin, Selected Chinese Ceramics from the Palace Museum (Volume 1): Blue and White Ceramics in Shunzhi and Kangxi Periods (Qing Shunzhi Kangxi chao qing hua ci), Beijing, 2005, p. 203, no. 124.