The inspiration for this form seems likely to be from the famous mallet-form vases of the Song dynasty. These forms were traditionally prized by Japanese connoisseurs and the present vase may have been intended to appeal to that market. A blue and white 18th century example of this form, in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco was in the exhibition Trade, Taste & Transformation, Jingdezhen Porcelain for Japan
, China Institute Gallery, New York, 2006, cat. no. 19, where the form is described as being part of a group for use in an alcove or tokonoma
of a teahouse and the author also notes that blue and white examples of this mallet form were known as 'Takasago' vases in reference to the male and female figures with which they were decorated. Another related vase from the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts, Tokyo, was included in the exhibition Encounters, The Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800
, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2004, pl. 5.27.
A blue and white vase of this form and the same rare waterweed decoration, but with a galleried rim, was exhibited and illustrated in Recent Acquisitions, S. Marchant & Son, London 2003, cat. no 41. Another nearly identical vase of this rare form and decoration sold at Christie's London, 6th November 2007, lot 226.