The present example forms one of the 'Eight Great Numbers', ba da ma, which is among the most sophisticated and distinguished of all Imperial porcelains. The extremely desirable peachbloom glaze is found exclusively on the eight shapes that make up the set and was not known on other forms, although certain examples are sometimes unaccountably designated as such.
This form acquired the sobriquet taibo zun from its similarity with the wine jar found beside the tipsy Li Taibo. It was also known as jichao zun because its shape resembles basketware chicken coops which also have small openings at the top through which the chicks are fed. The vessel contained water and the narrow neck would remove surplus water and reshape the writer's brush into the desired point. The shape is unique to the Kangxi period and also occurs under other colored glazes.
Similar Kangxi-marked peachbloom waterpots are in numerous public and private collections. Comparable examples are illustrated by S. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989 rev. ed., p. 237; F. Koyama, Chinese Ceramics: One Hundred Selected Masterpieces from Collections in Japan, England, France, and America, Tokyo, 1960, pl. 108 (bottom); and J. Ayers, The Baur Collection, vol. 3, Geneva, 1972, nos. A305 and A313-316.
See, also, several similar peachboom waterpots sold in these rooms, including the example sold 16 September 1998, lot 92; the example from the David A. Berg Collection, sold 21 September 2000, lot 385; and the example from the collection of Nathan L. Halpern, sold 21 September 2004, lot 259.