A small group of these important large jars with slight decorative variations are published. The comparable jar to the present example is in The British Museum, London, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, Kodansha Series, Tokyo, 1981, vol. 5, pl. 26, and illustrated again in Yuandai Ciqi, Yuan Dynasty Ceramics, Beijing, 1998, p. 52, fig. 56. The British Museum jar is of 47.5 cm. high and has a metal bound mouth rim; and the only subtle difference is the appearance of two pairs of phoenix and qilin on the tapered shoulder rather than a single pair as with the present lot. Aside from this, the major decorative motifs are very similar in their characteristic bold and dense painting style.
Another related jar also with pairs of phoenix and qilin decorating the shoulder but with a floral band below the mouth rim is in the Matsuoka Museum of Art, illustrated in Selected Masterpieces of Oriental Ceramics, 1984, pl. 42; and illustrated again, op. cit., Beijing, 1998, fig. 57. The Matsuoka Museum jar is identical to another Yuan jar also in the British Museum collection with missing handles, illustrated by B. Gray, 'The Export of Chinese Porcelain to India', T.O.C.S., vol. 36, 1964-1966, pl. 23a; where the author draws attention to a further example in the Wat Mahathat Temple, Lamphun, Thailand, illustrated, op. cit., pl. 23b.
Compare with a vase sold in our London Rooms, 10 December 1990, lot 163 with a pair of phoenix, each divided by a pair of handles. Compare also to two vases where the borders on the shoulder are reversed, the first illustrated by J. Pope, Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 1956, pl. 29.522, with a qilin amidst lotus scrolls below an enriched lotus lappet border; and another offered in our New York Rooms, 23 March 1995, lot 350, with phoenix replacing the qilin.