Originally a bronze form, the jue is said to have been used during the bronze age for heating alcohol over a fire; with the post-like handles on the rim functioning as supports for lifting the vessel full of warmed liquid away from the heat. Such vessels were often dedicated for temple use as altar vessels and were elaborately cast with archaic designs.
Although it is not unusual for bronze shapes to be imitated in jade and other materials. Examples of jue vessels in jade and jadeite are rare, with only a few published examples, including a spinach-green receptacle of related form shown in the Minnesota Museum of Art exhibition, Jade as Sculpture, 1975, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 87. The present lot is exceptional in the high quality of carving with designs that epitomize the elegance of archaism, and the good colour of the jadeite material.