This octagonal blue and white porcelain jar was made by an expert craftsman who used a sample brought by a European. The coloring and firing process were aptly executed. The resultant product is almost a true copy of the original. Its base is decorated with a scroll enhanced with small panels containing drawings of Indian lotus, peony, chrysanthemum, and daffodils. The characteristics of the Yuan blue and white porcelain are evident in this jar. The embellishment is rich and beautiful. The bird (phoenix) and the animal (unicorn) of good omen were vividly drawn. The different color tones in uneven patches dazzle the viewers and contribute to an interesting presentation which has a lasting appeal. The original ware was auctioned in Hong Kong on 23 March 1993 and it was sold for the sum of H.K. $1,450,000.00.
Blue and white porcelain wares were made as early as Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 A.D.) However, the brownish blue glaze was crude. Although some refinement was achieved in South Song Dynasty, it was far from perfect. It was not until the Yuan Dynasty (1280 - 1367 A.D.) that significant advancement to the coloring and embellishment of blue and white porcelain wares was made. On one hand, this achievement was due to the technical improvement over an extended period and to the discovery of the glass-like glaze through the research of making glossy porcelain. On the other hand, it was due to the refinement of skills when artisans were asked by the Muslim merchants to make replicas with samples with the use of imported blue glaze, which they brought to China. Thus the blue and white porcelain wares made in Yuan Dynasty bear distinct quality and style which are lacking in the products in later years. The different shades of blue give a primitive yet graceful touch, painted by bold and heavy strokes of the brush by the artists at their free will without a rigid blueprint. This artistic feat finds no equal even in later periods. These porcelain wares were very popular in the worldwide markets, and museums have been endeavoring to include them in their collection as items of treasures.