The sanxuan zun derives its name from the rings around the neck which recall the strings used on Chinese musical instruments. It is also called 'turnip-shaped vase' laifu zun, by Chinese scholars after the custom of naming porcelain forms after vegetables. Perhaps its most amusing title is the 'Morgan shape vase' after the American collector who paid a legendary sum for an example in the mid-19th century. It sold after her death in 1886 for US$18,000. Examples of this shape are extremely rare.
Similar examples of this form are illustrated, one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by S. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, no. 231 and again in Sekai Toji Zenshu, Tokyo, 1983, vol. 15, pp. 34-35, fig. 27. Another from the Freer Gallery of Art is illustrated by Chait, 'The Eight Prescribed Peachbloom Shapes Bearing the K'ang Hsi marks', published in Oriental Art, 1957, vol. 3, no. 4, p. 132, where he also illustrates the Morgan vase; others are illustrated in Kangxi Yongzheng Qianlong, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 137, col. pl. 120, from the Beijing Palace Museum; in the Min Chiu Society Exhibition of Monochrome Ceramics, Hong Kong, 1977, Catalogue, no. 10. Another example also from the Kneeland collection sold in New York, 1 June 1994, lot 373, which later formed part of the set of eight peachbloom-glazed vessels from the Jingguantang collection, sold in these Rooms, 3 November 1996, lot 557.