The current bowl is known as a lianzi wan, or lotus bowl, for its similarity in form to that of a lotus pod. The form originated in the Yongle period, and retained its popularity in the reign of Xuande, as demonstrated by a group of Xuande-marked lianzi bowls in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, published in Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Selected Hsüan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, Taipei, 1998, pp. 360-377, nos. 153-161, where examples in both blue and white and monochrome white are illustrated under each of the three size categories: large (20.4-20.7 cm. in diameter), medium (15.9 - 16.0 cm.) and small (10.0-10.1 cm.). The present bowl is nearly identical in size and decoration to one of the two medium-sized blue and white examples cited, see ibid., pp. 370-1, no. 158, where it is noted that the bowl is closely modelled after its earlier Yongle prototype, though the unmarked prototype is lighter in weight and is potted with a narrower foot ring. The other medium-sized blue and white example illustrated has a similar decoration on the interior save for the omission of the dianthus scroll to the cavetto, and the replacement with a cash diaper border to the rim, while the exterior has a more simplified decoration with a band of stylised petals encircling the base between a narrow border of key fret at foot and another at rim. This decoration is the more common of the two, other examples of this type include another in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Ming Xuande ciqi tezhan, Taipei, 1980, no. 43; one published in Zhongguo taoci quanji, vol. 12, Shanghai, 1999-2000, pl. 66; and another illustrated by A.D. Brankston in Early Ming Wares of Chingtechen, Beijing, 1938, pl. 13d, where the underside is compared to that of an unmarked Yongle prototype, pl. 7 c and d.
Apart from the above-mentioned example in the National Palace Museum, no other Xuande-marked lianzi bowl bearing the current decoration appears to be published, though several examples of its Yongle prototype are known, including one in the National Palace Museum, published in Catalogue of a Special Exhibition of Early Ming Period, Taipei, 1984, no. 24; and one bequeathed by Mrs. Walter Sedgwick to the British Museum, illustrated by S. Jenyns in Ming Pottery and Porcelain, London, 2001, p. 113 no. 28A; another, a bequest of Mrs. W. Roberts, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, illustrated by J. Ayers in Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1980, no. 46, where it has been dated to early 15th century; a fourth from the Ardebil Shrine, now in the National Museum of Iran, illustrated by T. Misugi in Chinese Porcelain Collections in the Near East Topkapi and Ardebil, vol. 3, Hong Kong, 1981, p. 137, no. A. 53; and another sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29 May 2007, lot 1452.
It is interesting to compare the decoration on the current bowl to that on the mantou xin bowl in this sale, lot 3107. The two are closely related in both having a completely decorated surface on the interior, comprised of similar concentric bands surrounding a central floral medallion, and in both bearing a narrow band of floral scroll above a border of interlinked pendent trefoils below the exterior rim.