The shape of this vase is based on Ming dynasty prototypes of early fifteenth century date. A Ming example of the same height, but with a narrower neck and different handles, is illustrated by R. Scott in Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art: A Guide to the Collection, London, 1989, p. 73, no. 61, where the author notes that this shape has its origins in Syrian glass. However, the decoration on the present vase is purely Chinese. The three fruiting branches seen here represent the sanduo (Three Abundances), comprised of the citron (abundance of blessings), the peach (abundance of longevity) and the lychee (abundance of sons). The citron, pronounced foshou in Chinese, is similar in its first character (fo) to fu, which means 'blessings'. Peaches are symbols of longevity, and the second character for lychee, zhi, resembles the word for 'sons'.
Several other eighteenth century moon flasks of similar form are known. See a larger Yongzheng-marked example (36.5 cm.), decorated with birds on blossoming prunus branches, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (III), Hong Kong, 2000, p. 111, no. 97. Compare, also, the smaller (29.2 cm.) Yongzheng-marked blue and white moon flask sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 29 April 2001, lot 566, and another smaller (18.2 cm.) related blue and white moon flask, also sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27 May 2008, lot 1828.