During the Song and Yuan periods, vessels of this distinctive shape, commonly called meiping, or plum vase, served primarily as storage containers for liquids such as wine. This elegant example, enhanced by its monochromatic glaze, is a fine example of plain white Cizhou wares. Simply decorated with a white slip under a transparent colorless glaze, the resulting effect is a satiny sheen of creamy white.
A number of similar Cizhou meiping dated to the Yuan period bear the inscription nei fu (palace repository) on the shoulder, an example of which is in the Tokyo National Museum and illustrated by Y. Mino, Freedom of Clay and Brush through Seven Centuries in Northern China: Tz'u-chou Type Wares, 960-1600 A.D., Indianapolis, 1980, p. 171, pl. 73, along with five other examples bearing nei fu marks, p. 170, figs. 189-93. One example, fig. 189, was found in a Yuan storage cellar at Liangxiangzhen in Beijing.