The shape of this vase is sometimes known as 'champion's vase', an appellation translated from the Chinese, ying (eagle) and xiong (bear), describing the two beasts represented, but also forming the pun on the word for 'champion' or 'hero'. Alternatively, the vessel is also known as a 'nuptial cup', he jing bei. It is believed that during the Ming dynasty, it was used as a ritual wine vessel during the wedding ceremony. The double cylinders were filled with wine to be drunk by the bride and groom as part of the marriage rites.
See a spinach-jade double vase and cover in the Victoria and Albert Museum illustrated by M. Wilson, Chinese Jades, London, 2004, p. 105, pl. 103.
Compare also with a carved white jade 'champion' vase and cover from Qianlong period sold by Christie's Hong Kong, 27 November 2007, lot 1547.