The decorative design of the present vase, with its stylised cicada blade motif, is most likely to have been an inspiration from Shang Dynasty bronze ritual vessels, such as the 13th century B.C. zun, illustrated by R. W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Harvard University Press, 1987, Cambridge, Massachusetts, p. 264, no. 42.
An interesting point of note is the playful portrayal of the chilong, or chi dragons, with their heads turned to look at their hind legs, carved on each side of the wide shoulder. Chi dragons are considered to be auspicious mythical creatures empowered to exorcise evil and avert disasters. The finial of the cover is in the form of a recumbent chilong; each of the eyes are rendered by a spiral which is a treatment generally attributed to the Song Dynasty. Compare the carved spiral depicting the eye of the phoenix from the same collection, offered in the present sale, lot 1565.
Also compare with a similar mythical jade animal, carved with similar vigour from yellow and brownish jade, ascribed to the Song Dynasty, exhibited in Chinese Jade Carving, Hong Kong Museum of Art, and illustrated in the Catalogue, p. 152, no. 140. The colour of the stone, and particularly the use of russet in highlighting the head of the dragon finial compare closely with a figure of a monkey in the McElney Collection, illustrated by J. Watt, Chinese Jades from Han to Ch'ing, New York, 1980, p. 86, no. 69.