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Double-gourd-shaped Vase Decorated with Bats

By Ceramic Design Ideas

Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)

The double-gourd-shaped vase has a straight mouth, short neck, and a smaller upper bulb compared with the lower one which gracefully terminates in a narrow, slightly upturned foot. The interior wall is applied with turquoise glaze and the exterior with red cloud-like bat designs on the blue-green-glazed ground. At the bottom inside the foot ring, grouped in three lines within a single-line crimson frame, are six crimson characters in seal script reading “Made in the Qianlong period of the Great Qing” (Daqing Qianlong nian zhi).
  Vessels in gourd shapes are typical among traditional Chinese porcelain productions. Based on some of its characteristics such as its intertwining tendrils and profuse seeds (in Chinese, the character for “seed” [zi] is homophonic with the character for “offspring”), the gourd is often connected with auspicious meanings such as abundance and fertility. The gourd was also considered a holy object for Daoist practice. Over the centuries, it was believed that people with miraculous powers were able to use gourd as a vehicle to enter the land of the immortals. At the same time, it is also used as containers for Daoist elixirs of immortality. The pattern decorating the vase is also intended as a rebus in which great fortune and blessing (“hongfu” in Chinese) are represented by image of the red bats (also pronounced “hongfu”).
  Both the elegant, round shape and the bat pattern help us to glimpse how “fortune” was understood and celebrated during the Qianlong reign.

Double-gourd-shaped Vase Decorated with Bats

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