An identical covered jar painted in mirror-image to the present lot, was sold in these Rooms, 1 November 2004, lot 903.
The group of porcelains marked with the characters Dayazhai was made for the personal use of the powerful Empress Dowager, Cixi (1835-1908). Of significance is an important sub-category of Dayazhai wares which is connected to Cixi's 60th birthday in 1894. Among the decorative characteristics of this group are the inscriptions Dayazhai and Tian di yi jia chun, and the composition of flowers and insects in grisaille against a yellow ground; all of which are found on the present covered jar. Compare with a related jardiniere and covered food box from the Weishaupt collection, illustrated by G. Avitabile, From the Dragon's Treasure, London, 1987, pls. 158 and 159 respectively, both of which share very similar decorative compositions with the present jar. Ronald W. Longsdorf, in his article 'Dayazhai Ware: Porcelains of the Empress Dowager', Orientations, March 1992, p. 46, suggests that the technique of grisaille painting on yellow ground is 'reminiscent of ink painting, especially with the seal mark and 'Da ya zhai' inscription in the same vermilion used for stamping seal marks on paper.'