The potters of the Song dynasty had a predilection for natural forms, and the apparent inspiration for this attractive vessel is a lobed melon. Lobed vessels were popular products of the Yaozhou kilns and can be found in other Northern Song ceramic wares. Similar lobed bowls have been excavated at the Yaozhou kiln sites in Huangpu, in strata dated to the mid- and late Northern Song period (1023-1127). See Songdai Yaozhou Yaozhi, Beijing, 1998, p. 563, pl. 265. A similar Yaozhou lobed bowl is illustrated by J. Ayers, Chinese Ceramics, The Koger Collection, London and New York, 1985, p. 50, no. 26, and a Ding ware bowl of related size and shape is illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 1, London, 1994, p. 200, no. 349.