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Gourd Hexafoil Vase with the Qianlong Emperor's Poem

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Period: Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: gourd
Dimensions: height: 24.3 cm, mouth diameter: 5.1 cm, foot diameter: 6.4 cm

The vase has a straight mouth, a slender neck, a swollen stomach, and a hexagonal foot ring. Its body is divided into six segments by the vertical ridges from head to foot. The stomach of each side is decorated with a medallion of the character for longevity (shou). Various patterns on the rest include stylized palm leaves, interlocking arcs, lotus petals, and creepers, echoing the plain surface of the neck. The crisp ridges at the top of the vessel taper to a smoother and softer profile at the bottom, a change that enhances the beauty of this object. On the bottom a long poem is incised in official script (li shu) and filled with green.   
  An inscription following the poem indicates that the Ode to a Gourd Vase (Yong hulu ping) was composed by the Qianlong Emperor on the first month of the forty-seventh year of the Qianlong reign (1782). It is included in the Imperial Poems by Qing Gaozong (Qing gaozong yuzhi shi). This poem also appears on a gourd pestle-shaped vase with interlocking lotuses.

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