Of cylindrical form, the water jar is decorated on the exterior with two bands of lotus scrolling on the upper and lower parts of the vessel. The central band exhibits a flowering peony, prunus and lotus all reserved on various diaper grounds. The vessel is decorated in a locally manufactured underglaze cobalt blue; the footring is left unglazed to reveal its porcelaneous body.
The end of the Ming dynasty was nigh. The odds to quell the rebel armies were stacked against the young and illiterate Tianqi emperor, who was controlled by the palace eunuchs. The civil wars disrupted ceramic production which saw the Jingdezhen kilns get hit the hardest as they could no longer rely on imperial orders to finance its operation. The focus moved from domestic to foreign markets, especially Japan and South East Asia. Porcelain made for the Japanese markets such as this water bucket are classified as ‘ko-sometsuke’ (old blue and white), and were highly desired objects mainly for the use of the tea ceremony, which became popular from the Momoyama period (1568-1615). This mizusashi would have contained fresh cold water.