This style of lacquer decoration with elegantly depicted figures in garden or landscape scenes, and delicate borders, in mother-of-pearl seems to have come to prominence in the latter part of the Kangxi reign. Some of the scenes were taken from woodblock prints, as in the case of a square dish exhibited in Hong Kong (illustrated in 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong and Art Gallery, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1993, pp. 184-5, no. 96), the scene on which is taken from the Yuzhi Gengzhi tu (Imperial Edition of Pictures of Tilling and Weaving), which was published in 1712.
A porcelain dish decorated in similar style to the current vase,with figures in landscape in mother-of-pearl, from the Grandidier Collection is now in the Musée Guimet (illustrated in The World's Great Collections - Oriental Ceramics, vol. 7, Musée Guimet, Kodansha International, Tokyo New York/San Francisco, 1981, no.157). The Guimet dish bears a mark of Chenghua (1465-87) but has been dated to the Kangxi period (1662-1722). A larger, more sturdily potted, and slightly later porcelain vase decorated in this style was sold in our New York Rooms on 16 September 1998, lot 51. The New York vase was also decorated with figures in landscape. A similar vase to the current vessel from the collection of George de Menasce, OBE, was illustrated in the Spink & Sons, London, catalogue in 1971, p. 51, no. 206.