The fine quality of this ewer, and its closeness to the known Qianlong examples, suggests that it was made at the beginning of the Jiaqing reign shortly after the Qianlong Emperor abdicated in favor of his son.
In fact the design of these Qing dynasty ewers was a precise copy of similar blue and white porcelain ewers from the early 15th century. For a Yongle (AD 1403-24) vessel of this type from the Qing court collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing, see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 34 - Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (I), Hong Kong, 2000, p. 43, no. 41. A ewer with the same decoration, but bearing a Xuande reign mark (AD 1426-35), also from the Qing court collection, is also in the Palace Museum and illustrated ibid., p. 121, no. 115. The shape of these early 15th century ewers was influenced by Near Eastern metalwork, and so it is not surprising that the Chinese blue and white porcelain examples proved popular in the Near East. Evidence of this popularity can be seen in their inclusion among the porcelains preserved in the collection of the Topkapi Saray, Istanbul and that of the Ardebil Shrine, now housed in the Iran Bastan in Tehran. See J. Ayers and R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, vol. II, Yuan and Ming Dynasty Porcelains, London, 1986, p. 519, no. 618; and J. A. Pope, Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, Second Edition, London, 1981, pl. 54, no. 29.427.
These early 15th century ewers established the decorative scheme that was to be handed down to the 18th century and beyond. On either side of the vessel is a quatrefoil panel, which contains a pair of peaches on one side of the vessel and a spray of loquats with flowers on the other. The panels are flanked by the flowers of the four seasons. The minor bands of plantain leaves, lotus scrolls, petal panels and classic scroll also remain on the 18th century and later examples.
A number of Qianlong versions of this ewer design have been preserved in collections around the world. For a Qianlong example in the Topkapi Saray, Istanbul see J. Ayers and R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, vol. III, Qing Dynasty Porcelains, London, 1986, p. 1106, no. 2565; in the Tianminlou collection see The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection - Chinese Porcelain Part II, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1987, p. 86, no. 59; in the T.T. Tsui collection see The Tsui Museum of Art - Chinese Ceramics IV - Qing, Hong Kong, 1995, no. 78; in the British Museum see J. Ayers and M. Sato, Sekai Toji Zenshu 15 Qing, Tokyo, 1983, p. 152, no. 161; and in the Nanjing Museum see Zhongguo Qingdai guanyao ciqi, Shanghai, 2003, p. 214, among others. The British Museum, Tianminlou and Nanjing examples have retained their covers.
Examples of this type of ewer dating to the Jiaqing reign are, however, much rarer, and no other example appears to have been published.