Porcelain arrow vases were originally derived from similar bronze models. These were used in a popular game for the wealthy upper class in which the aim was to throw arrows in the vase or in the tubes around the neck. More important than winning was the proper use of ettiquette during the game.
The neck of this particular vase is shortened and used to have an elongation with several tubes around the top. Similar vases are found in the Percival David Foundation (see the Illustrated Catalogue, section 5, no. A662) and in the Baur Collection (see J. Ayers, The Baur Collection, Vol. II, no. A184). Similar vases but with doucai colours are found in the Princessehof, Leeuwarden and in the Musée Guimet, Paris.