The motif depicted on this jar represents 'The Society of Jesus' (see N. de Castro, Chinese Porcelain and the Heraldry of the Empire, 1988, p. 41. A very similar jar with cover was in the Mottahedeh collection, illustrated by Howard and Ayers, China for the West, vol. I, no. 12, p. 57, where the authors explain that these jars were probably ordered through the Portuguese at Macao by the Jesuit mission. A similar jar is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.