The battle scene depicted on this jar features the female general Mu Guiying breaking the Heaven Gate Formation, and is taken from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) historical romance Yang Jia Jiang Yanyi (Generals of the Yang Family). The story takes place during the war between the Northern Song (960-1127) dynasty and its neighbors in the north, the Liao (Khitan) and the Xi Xia (Tangut). When Yang Zongbao, the son of Yang Yanzhao and Princess Chai, besieged the Muke Fort in search of the Dragon Subduing Wood, which would help in breaking the Liao army's Heaven Gate Formation, he met Mu Guiying, the daughter of the lord of Muke Fort. Mu Guiying fell in love with Yang Zongbao and married him after capturing him and his father. Mu Guiying would prove instrumental in breaking the Heaven Gate Formation with the rest of the Yangs. When Yang Yanzhao died, there were few males left in the Yang family. Around that time, the Western Xia invaded the Song territories, and Yang Zongbao had been killed in action, so the twelve women in the family participated in the campaign against the Western Xia. Yang Zongbao's hundred-year-old grandmother, She Saihua, along with Mu Guiying and other widows of the Yang family, lead the Song army to resist the invaders. The female generals of the Yang family proved that they were not inferior to their male counterparts, continuing the fruitful legacy of loyalist generals in the Yang family.