Vases with this type of lotus-pod shaped head and glaze are very rare. A vase with a similar lotus-pod head, but with a celadon glaze and Jiaqing mark, was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 29 April 2001, lot 554. A related example of baluster-form with a lavender-blue glaze is illustrated by R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. II, p.195, no. 846. This vase also has a lotus pod- shaped head, but the head is smaller and has only four apertures.
There are, however, squat 'vases' with closed mouths and circular apertures. One example with a Qianlong mark in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, is illustrated in Monochrome Porcelains of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Taipei, 1981, p. 129, no. 93. Two other examples, also with Qianlong marks, are in the Wang Xing Lou Collection, illustrated in Imperial Perfection: The Palace Porcelain of Three Chinese Emperors, Hong Kong, 2004, nos. 74 and 95. Another example, shaped like a lotus-pod, but with a tapered neck rising from the center of the pod is illustrated in Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong: Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 396. These 'vases' are variously described as flower or incense holders. The present vase is, however, most likely to be a flower vase and appears to be a marriage between the more common garlic-head vases and the examples cited above.