A closely related vessel, but of slightly larger size and with cover, was sold in these rooms, 31st October 1974, lot 83; and a wucai version, in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, is illustrated in The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics, vol. 13, pt. II, Shanghai, 1999, pl. 120. Two wucai jars and covers of this form, but decorated with mythical beasts in a landscape, were sold in these rooms, the first from the collection of Iver Munthe Daae, sold 1st November 1994, lot 54, and the second, 5th October 2016, lot 110. Compare also a slightly smaller cylindrical cricket jar similarly decorated with dragons, but above a band of lappets and short foot, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (II), Shanghai, 2000, pl. 155.
The use of these drum-shaped vessels is not fully known; while some were probably made as cricket cages, others may have been used by the Wanli Emperor as containers for chess pieces. Due to the size of the present piece, it was probably too large for chess pieces and is more likely to have been used as a cricket jar.