Massive vases of this type are referred to as 'soldier' or 'dragoon' vases after the story of Frederick Augustus I (1670-1733), Elector of Saxony, King of Poland, avid collector of Asian porcelain and a founder of the Meissen factory, trading a regiment of soldiers for a collection of them. Following the more straight-sided blue and white model of the earlier 18th century that probably comprised his group, the magnificent form evolved into this shape and continued to be made in the newer enamel colors. In both size and quality of painting they typically represent a tour-de-force of the potter's art.
A similar pair is illustrated by A. du Boulay, Christie's Pictorial History of Chinese Ceramics, p. 250, and was sold Christie's London, 28 July 1975, lot 181, and again 10 June 1996, lot 135. Another pair was sold Christie's New York, 21 January 1999, lot 122.