The dou, which consists of a bowl on a tall foot with a domed lid, dates from the fifth century B. C., such as the example from the Freer Gallery of Art, illustrated by William Watson, Ancient Chinese Bronzes, London, 1977, pl. 65a. The closest exact prototype for this porcelain version is a bronze dou inlaid with silver in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, illustrated by Rose Kerr, Ancient Chinese Bronzes, London, 1990, pl. 58. The scrollwork on the porcelain closely matches that on the bronze. However, further examination and tests on the bronze dou have shown that the bottom half and the lid handle were of different composition to the lid, with the conclusion that the lid is of fifth century B. C. original and that the other parts were added to it later, with the base testing to be fourteenth century or earlier.
This shape is very rarely found on porcelain. An earlier blue and white Xuande-marked dou is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (I), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 131.