The inscription on the present pillow was adapted from a poem titled Shanzi Ming ('Inscription on a Fan') by a Vietnamese ambassador to China, Mo Tingzhi (M?c Ðinh Chi, 1280-1346). He improvised and inscribed this poem to express his wish to be recognized at the court when the Yuan dynasty Emperor Wuzong (r. 1307-1311) summoned him.
This pillow bears the stamp of the Zhang Family, a family or workshop famous for its skilled decorators that worked in an area formerly called Xiangxian, to the west of Anyang in Henan province.
For other similarly decorated Zhang Family pillows, see the example in the British Museum, London, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, vol. 5, Tokyo, 1981, no. 118, and the pillow from the Falk Collection, 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, 1981, p. 143, pl. 59, and later sold at Christie’s New York, 16 October 2001, lot 69.