The ewer is conceived as a mandarin duck and drake modelled in juxtaposition, the female with neck twined about her mate, their plumage painted in inky underglaze cobalt blue.
The lower half of the vessel is painted with lotus and aquatic plants emanating from rockwork and curling waves.
The simple loop handle is painted with lotus meander; the vessel supported on a short knife-cut footrim.
The later flat-buttoned knopped cover is applied with a silver-gilt mount linked to the handle by means of a fine chain.
It carries the six character mark of Xuande, 16.5cm high.
The Xuande Emperor was the fifth emperor of the Ming dynasty.
His reign from 1425-35 was a period of high quality workmanship and creativity and in later years the Xuande mark was used on objects to signify that they were inspired by the sophisticated work of that period of the Ming dynasty.