This jar is of a type commonly used to hold wine and is decorated using a technique employed at several kilns in north China. The technique of fully glazing the vessels and then cutting away or incising the design through the glaze before firing produced a dramatic design. Such designs owed their impact not only to the contrast between the pale color of the revealed body material and the rich dark brown of the glaze, but to the contrast between the slightly rough matte texture of the body and the silky gloss of the glaze.
Two brown-glazed jars of this shape with similar carved designs are illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. 1, London, 1994, p. 251, nos. 454 and 455.