The present vase follows the archaic bronze prototype, gu, a type of wine vessel used in the rituals of the Shang and Zhou dynasties. By the Qing period, archaic forms and motifs found great popularity at court and a number of jades vessels, such as the present example, were produced to reflect the fashion of the period.
One of the most interesting points of note in the case of the present vase is the addition of an internal flange on the interior of the mouth rim. The aperture would have permitted flowers to remain upright when placed inside the vase. With its relatively small central aperture, the complexity in carving the vessel would undoubtedly proved a serious challenge to the craftsman, particularly the polishing of the underside and interiors of the vase. Despite the technical difficulties, the lapidary had succeeded in hollowing the vessel evenly and allowing the translucency and colour of the natural stone to be fully appreciated. Another rare white jade gu-shaped vase also carved with an unusual inner flange was sold at Christie's London, King Street, 4 November 2008, lot 13.