The prevalence of receptacles of this form in Japanese collections can almost certainly be attributed to their use as water containers in the Japanese tea ceremony.
Cf. a number of similar examples of this form with related decoration in important private and public collections. Compare one from the Museum Yamato Bunkakan Collection, Illustrated Catalogue, No. 7, 1977, no. 147; another from the Isaac Fletcher Collection, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, the World's Great Collections, Kodansha Series, vol. 12, Tokyo, 1987, black and white pl. 75; compare also an example in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Bernat included in the exhibition, Later Chinese Ceramics, Messrs. Bluett & Sons Ltd., Catalogue number 74.