The form is derived from an archaic bronze gu, with flared rim and spreading foot, the foot, middle section and rim divided into three distinct decorative zones.
The uppermost section is painted with phoenix accompanied by other birds, the central zone with clumps of lotus, plum blossom, bamboo and peach and the lower register with a frieze of irregular pointed leaves.
The base is unglazed. 44.5cm.
The vase appears, as one of a pair, in the 1690 Devonshire Schedule, the inventory recording an enormous bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689), to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703).
Listed under the heading ‘Large plain China’ are: ….. ‘A pair of large blue and white beakers about eighteen inches high with birds and trees in blue.’
Only one now remains at Burghley.