In Howard & Ayers, China for the West, pp 230-233, pl.229 a-c, there is an example of a punchbowl from the Mottahedeh collection with a similar cavalcade. The authors suggest that the equestrian procession could commemorate the cententary of the third Dutch Embassy to China in the 1660's when the V.O.C. attempted to revitalise their trade with China after having been disrupted during the civil wars ending the Ming Dynasty. The original print from which this scene was taken and adapted is unknown. However, the authors point out that the Dutch Embassy was elaborately told by Dr. Olfert Dapper in Gedenkwaerdig Bedryf Der Nederlansche Ost-Indische Maetschappye op de Kuste en in het Keizerijk Varr Taising of Sina, Amsterdam, 1670. The figures and horses may have been inspired by those in the illustration facing page 347, which shows the welcome of the Dutch Embassy by the Li Pu on the outskirts of Peking.
The Mottahedeh punch bowl is also illustrated in Howard & Ayers, Masterpieces of Chinese Export Porcelain, p.48, no, 229; and Hervout & Bruneau, La Porcelaine des Compagnies des Indes Dcor Occidental, p. 222, no, 9.83 a,b.
A similar punchbowl was offered at Christie's, London, 31 October 1956, lot 31 and in the Jarras Collection in the same Rooms, 10 June 1996, lot 283. Two punch bowls from the Collection of the late Thomas Mellon and Betty Evans were sold at Sotheby's New York, 19 June 1998, lots 2108 and 2109.
The cavalcade of European horsemen shown in this lot is the only recorded example of the abovementioned scene painted on a fishbowl. It's uniqueness is twofold as the scene also differs slightly from those on the punch bowls. The procession on the fishbowl is depicted within two large cartouches to each side whereas those on the punch bowls show a continuous scene of sixteen horsemen heading towards a pavilion. The fishbowl merely shows ten cavalerist and does not include the pavilion.