Burl woods were commonly used for scholar's objects and were chosen for their richly textured surface. The simple and restrained form of the brush pot, such as the present example, was the ideal object to showcase the highly patterned and variegated colors inherent to burl.
Compare a slightly larger (18.5 cm. high) huamu brush pot, dated to the late 17th-early 18th century, in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and illustrated by R. Jacobsen, Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 1999, pp. 238-9, pl. 94.