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Enamel Calabash Inlaid with Jade
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2022.01.25 15:06:42

Measurements: Mouth Dia. 8.7 cm, Largest Perimeter 115 cm, Height 66cm
Period: Qianlong period of Qing dynasty (1736--1796)
Provenance: Previous Collection

The vessel shaped like a calabash has a sepal-stalk-shaped cover, and a ring foot. It is embellished entirely across varied parts of the calabash, such as its silks, leaves, flowers, stalk, etc. This is in addition to the dozens of inlaid white jade calabashes, as well as the five-petal formed flowers made from red beads,  thereby imbuing its structure with magnificence and majesty.

The present vessel is a relatively typical example of champleve enamelware, which belongs to the Qianlong period of Qing dynasty. Champleve enamel is produced with a composite decorative technique combining metal engraving and enamel making. Enamel technology originated from the West and was later introduced to China. In the Qing Dynasty, colored enamel porcelain became a royal artistic treasure created by the amalgamation of Eastern and Western cultures.

The calabash is homophone of Happiness (Fu) and governmental salaries (Lu) in Chinese, and also the embodiment of the immeasurable longevity, symbolizing the endless wealth and longevity; what’s more, calabash has abundant seeds, with long-reaching sprigs, which sends a message of auspiciousness, implying plentiful offspring, and a long-lasting stable regime. Thus, the calabash became an ideal birthday tribute for royalty in the Qing court.