The square-sectioned body based on a bronze fang gu-shape, each side painted with five ascending and descending five-clawed dragons on a dense floral ground with borders of key-fret, waves and rocks, the central knop with lion mask handles, the base moulded as an imitation bronze stand. Wanli six character mark and of the period (1573-1619)
The Grandidier Collection in the Musee Guimet has two vases of this shape and decoration but without the phoenix, mark and period of Wanli, reference G 4774, these vases are 69.4 cm high. One of these vases was illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Greatest Collections, vol. 7, 1981, no. 81.
A further very similar example is in the British Museum, registration number OA+.33, and illustrated in Harrison-Hall, Jessica, Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, BMP, 2001, pl. 11:31. This one is slightly smaller at 56.5 cm.
The British Museum also has a version in Wucai enamels with a similar decoration of dragon and phoenix and mark and period of Wanli, registration number Franks.323, also illustrated in Harrison-Hall, Jessica, Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, BMP, 2001, pl. 11:168. This one is even smaller at 47 cm height. Another Wucai version was sold by Christies in 2001 but taller than the British Museum's vase at 73.5 cm high.
As regards to the shape Jessica Harrison-Hall writes in 2001 that: "This square altar vase is odeled after an ancient bronze wine container called 'zun'. It is probable, because of its elongated proportions, that the shape was copied from a printed illustration rather than from an original Bronze Age vessel.