This type of vessel is known as a 'marriage' bowl, and such bowls, with their carefully chosen propitious decoration, were popular at the Imperial Qing court. The use of the butterflies on the handles of the present bowl is highly auspicious, making it an appropriate object for a marriage or birthday gift. The term for butterfly is hudie in Chinese: hu is pronounced fu in some Chinese dialects and thus provides a homophone for two words with similar pronunciation - one meaning blessings and one meaning riches. Die is a homophone for a word meaning ‘age of seventy to eighty’, and thus stands for longevity, and it also sounds similar to a word meaning duplicate, accumulate or pile up. When two butterflies face each other, as they do on the handles of this bowl, they suggest a ‘joyful encounter’, which can be interpreted as marital happiness.