The distinctive deep pink enamel known as 'ruby' appears to have been developed at the imperial workshops in the late Kangxi reign. A range of new colours entered the Chinese decorator’s palette in the late Kangxi reign and more were added in the Yongzheng reign, some from Europe and others developed at the imperial workshops in response to the Emperors’ determination that Chinese craftsmen should have enamels as fine or better than the European. In this they involved both European Jesuit missionaries at the court and also Chinese glass makers.
Yongzheng bowls with 'ruby' grounds and reserved white panels used as ‘canvas’ for bird and flower painting were in the Imperial collections. See Qing dai yuyao ciqi – Gugong bowuyuan cang, vol. 1, Beijing, 2005, pp. 160-61 and Porcelain with painted enamels of Qing Yongzheng period (1723-1735), op. cit., pp. 30-31. A large-scale garniture like the present lot adopted this Imperial taste for the very top end of the China Trade.