The motif depicted on this dish, two mandarin ducks in a lotus pond, represents the rebus yuanyang guizi ('May you have a harmonious marriage, and may you give birth to illustrious sons').
A number of dishes of this pattern with very fine molding have been published. One, formerly in the collection of Edward T. Chow, is illustrated by J. Wirgin, Sung Ceramic Designs, 1970, pl. 97b; one is illustrated in Asian Art in The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1993, p. 59; and another is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, vol. 10, Tokyo, 1980, no. 17. Others are illustrated in Mayuyama, Seventy Years, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1976, p. 133, pl. 389; and one from the Heeramaneck Collection is illustrated by W. Cox, The Book of Pottery and Porcelain, vol. I, New York, 1944, p. 182, fig. 346. See, also, the very similar example from a Private Collection from Hawaii, sold in these rooms, 20 March 1997, lot 152.