This piece was probably inspired by much smaller fruit-shaped vessels made for the scholar’s desk, which were popular throughout the early Qing dynasty. These are known in a variety of media, including porcelain; see a washer covered in a guan-type glaze, and with a Yongzheng reign mark and of the period, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Classics of the Forbidden City. Scholar’s Paraphernalia, Beijing, 2015, pl. 85, together with two Qianlong mark and period examples, pls 86 and 87, the first covered in a Jun-type glaze and the second in a Ru-type glaze.
The form and design of this basin brim with auspicious wishes, from the numerous bats (fu), which are homophonous with the word for blessings (fu), to the alternating swastikas (wan) and longevity (shou) characters, expressing the wish wanshou wujiang (may you have ten thousand longevities without boundary), and the colourful clouds (yun). The auspicious message is further strengthened by its shape that depicts a peach, one of China’s most auspicious fruit, symbolic of long life and harbinger of happiness.
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