The present rare moonflask follows faithfully the design of those in the early Ming, Yongle period, and are very comparable to two examples: the first in the National Palace Museum Collection, illustrated in Blue-and-White Ware of the Ming Dynasty, Book I, Hong Kong, CAFA, 1963, pp. 58-59, pls. 9, 9a and 9b fig. 1; and the other in the Percival David Foundation, housed at the British Museum, illustrated by R. Scott, Elegant Form and Harmonious Decoration Four Dynasties of Jingdezhen Porcelain, London, 1992, p. 42, no. 29. The decoration of the single bird perched on a branch on each side of the compressed body with bamboo sprays on the splayed neck shares resonance of the Ming prototype, with the exception that the Ming flasks are slightly larger at 30 cm. high.
The only comparable example of this same small size is in the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics, Leeuwarden, illustrated by D. Lion-Goldschmidt, Ming Porcelain, Fribourg, 1978, p. 47, no. 13, where the author questioned its 15th century dating, and is currently dated by the museum as Yongzheng period. Another unmarked Yongzheng example of similar height to the Yongle prototype is known, formerly in the collections of Richard de la Mare, Su Lin An and Meiyintang, and subsequently sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7 April 2011, lot 76. Revival of this bird-on-branch motif also appeared in the Yongzheng period with known larger examples in the collection of Robert Chang, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 2 November 1999, lot 521, with an effaced reign mark, now in the Alan Chuang Collection, illustrated in The Alan Chuang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, Hong Kong, 2009, p. 113, no. 34 (36.5 cm. high); and in the Palace Museum Collection, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2000, p. 111, no. 97 (fig. 2), 36.5 cm. high with a six-character Yongzheng mark in underglaze blue. Interestingly, both these larger flasks are designed with pairs of birds on branches and have straight cylindrical necks whilst the present flask is closer in style to the Ming version.