The decorative technique of using a moulded coiling dragon in high relief around the neck and shoulder of vases emerged early on in the Song dynasty, especially on celadon and qingbai wares. The addition provides an effective visual balance contrasting an assymetrical element with an otherwise uniform vessel. This style can also be found on bronzes of 16th/17th century; cf. two bronze vases with coiling dragons around the neck, illustrated by R. Kerr, Later Chinese Bronzes, Victoria and Albert Museum, p. 42, no. 29.
Apart from the interesting contrast in shape, the present lot is also successfully rendered with the use of a brightly coloured enamel against a simple white ground, lending versatility and greater texture to the piece. Compare with a Yongzheng-marked, white-glazed censer applied with a pair of puce-enamelled chilong-shaped handles, illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art, Chinese Ceramics IV, 1995, no. 161.