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Jade Water Container with Two Dragons

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: white jade
Origin: Qing court collection
Dimensions: height: 6.9 cm, length: 13.1 cm, width: 11.7 cm, mouth diameter: 4.1 cm

The white jade water container has décor in relief depicting two dragons playing with a pearl in the clouds. Its exterior bottom is incised with a poem by the Qianlong Emperor in official script (li shu) and an inscription reading "the spring of jiazi year of the Qianlong reign [1744], composed by the Emperor." Two unofficial seals follow with legends in seal script (zhuan shu): "Fragrance of antiquity" (gu xiang), and "Utter simplicity" (tai pu).   
  This small object held water for thinning ink on an inkstone for which a minimal amount of water was needed. The water inside would highlight both the smooth jade and vivid dragons.

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