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I have seen vases like this with pins set into the bottom under the hole. Flower stems would be held in place with the pins and the vase filled with water. I believe it is for a type of Japanese flower arranging.
The color of the clay reminds me of Yixing, but it's most likely not Chinese.
I guess I would have to agree with the others. Seems like a unique take on a bud vase. This is the closest thing I could find. Good Luck