The brushwasher is described as of 'gong-shape' or tangluo xi, as it has heavily compressed sides.
This washer belongs to an exclusive group of eight vessel shapes that are embellished in this extremely desirable peachbloom glaze . Known as the ba da ma or 'Eight Great Numbers', the sets were especially devised in these classic forms to serve as requisite appointments for the Emperor's writing table. Complete sets are extremely rare, with one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections, Kodansha Series, vol. 11, pl. 28; and another from the Jingguantang Collection, sold in these Rooms, 3 November 1996, lot 557.
Similar brushwashers are illustrated by S. Jenyns in Later Chinese Porcelain, pl. 7, fig. 1; by M. Beurdeley and G. Raindre , Qing Porcelain, Fribourg, 1986, pl. 98; by J. Ayers, Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, vol. III, Geneva, 1972, nos. A 306, A 309; in Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 15, no. 27; in the Illustrated Catalogue of Ming and Qing Dynasty Monochromes in the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, no. B 582; included in the 1978 Hong Kong Museum of Art exhibition, Ming and Ch'ing Porcelain from the Collection of the T.Y. Chao Family Foundation, no. 53.