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Silver Ewer with Intaglio Patterns

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Period: Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: silver
Dimensions: height: 31. 5cm, mouth diameter: 8 cm

Incised with various patterns, the ewer has an olive-shaped body, a curved spout decorated with a dragon head and a foot ring. The side opposing the spout has a ring attached. The knob of the cover is in the form of a flower bud with six segments. Each is carved with interlocking flowers. The edge of the cover has dragons in clouds and two rings that hold in place an S-shaped handle. The neck has a motif of squirrels playing in grape vines. The design on the stomach depicts a landscape with mountains, rivers, and bamboo, in which people are variously strolling, carrying a qin zither on the way to visit friends, drinking and enjoying a bright moon, appreciating books and poetry, and playing chess. The area above the foot ring is embellished with a band of diverse auspicious symbols. The patterns were all filled with black lacquer and polished to create a painting of elaborate realism. The elegant shape and exquisite design of this ewer make it a silver masterpiece of the Qianlong reign.

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