Striding dragons chasing a flaming pearl are a very effective motif applied to the swelling bodies of pear-shaped vases yuhuchun ping such as the current example, but are relatively rare. A slightly smaller pear-shaped vase with similarly disposed dragon to that on the present vessel is in the collection of the Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka illustrated by Zhu Yuping in Yuandai qinghua ci, Wenhui chubanshe, Shanghai, 2000, p. 87, no. 3-45. Another slightly smaller vase formerly in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Clark and previously in the C.E. Russell Collection from which it was loaned to the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1935-6 (exhibit no. 1434) is illustrated by Sir Harry Garner in Oriental Blue and White, Faber and Faber, London, 1954, pl. 3. The vase was later sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, The Meiyintang Collection, 7 April 2011, lot 38. A further example was excavated in 1988 from a tomb of the Wengniute Banner at Wutonghua, north of Chifeng and was exhibited in Empires Beyond the Great Wall - The Heritage of Genghis Khan, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 1993, p. 141, no. 91.
These vases, along with the current example, do not have any motifs other than the 'flaming pearl' accompanying the three-clawed dragons, but a somewhat larger pear-shaped vase in the collection of the Henan Provincial Museum is decorated with a four-clawed dragon accompanied by fungus-shaped clouds (illustrated by Zhu Yuping, op.cit., p. 101, no. 4-15). A pear-shaped vase with cut-down neck and a three-clawed dragon in the collection of the British Museum, London, also shows the dragon accompanied by clouds and additionally had a petal band around the lower part of the body illustrated by Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, British Museum Press, London, 2001, p. 72-3, no. 1:29.
The type of energetic three-clawed dragon seen on the current vase also provided a popular theme on stem cups, as can be seen from an example in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (I), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 2000, p. 14, no. 12, and two examples in the collection of the British Museum, London illustrated by Jessica Harrison-Hall, op. cit., pp. 70-1, nos. 1:24 and 1:25 and on lot 3807 of this sale.