通高23.5厘米 上腹宽7.5厘米 下腹宽10.2厘米
Contorted cube-shaped gourd vase with reserve panel figure designs and “Appreciated by Qianlong” mark
Qing dynasty, Qianlong period(1736-95)
Width of lower belly 10.2cm
This piece is decorated with a handmade impressible seal design of the Eight Immortals, interspersed with shou(longevity) characters across the vase body. The base has an impressible seal mark in positive legend regular script that reads “Appreciated by Qianlong”. The vase is meticulously crafted. When stamped, the images of the Eight Immortals leave clear, spirited impressions. This gourd is a rare and valuable heirloom curio.
Gourds vessels, also known calabash or bottle gourd vessels, are a uniquely Chinese traditional folk art. They are made by attaching separate pieces of wooden moulds of designs and text onto the surfaces of a young gourd. These wooden moulds were sealed around the outside of the gourds, causing them to grow into a variety of shapes, producing gourds whose positive legend texts and designs resembled relief carving. Records show that such gourds were already being produced as early as the Ming dynasty. They reached their peak in the Kangxi and Qianlong periods of the Qing dynasty, when the most elaborate works were produced. In this period a Palace Director of Production was installed, whose sole role was to ensure a supply for the amusement and appreciation of the imperial household.