Square bowls of the present form appear to be an innovation of the Jiajing period. Produced in varying palettes and decorated with auspicious themes of 'Dragons', 'Boys', ‘Fish’ and ‘Phoenix and Crane’ that reflected the Jiajing emperor's well-chronicled dedication to Daoism. The present bowl is a rare expression of the form in both palette and subject matter which depicts a phoenix in flight on all four sides and the interior. Related examples of this theme are more commonly expressed with alternating panels of phoenix and crane; see one illustrated in Sekai toji zenshu, vol. 14, Tokyo, 1976, p. 81, no. 82-83; another in the National Palace Museum in Porcelain of the National Palace Museum, Enamelled Wares of the Ming Dynasty, vol. II, 1966, Hong Kong, pp. 58-59, pls. 6a, b, c, d; and a third in the British Museum, London in Margaret Medley, Illustrated Catalogue of Ming Polychrome Wares in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1978, pl. VI, no. 59.