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Carved agarwood gong vessel with dragon-and-phoenix decoration, Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty

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Accession Number
Carved agarwood gong vessel with dragon-and-phoenix decoration
Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty
H. 26.5 cm


According to the Imperial Workshop Archives, on August 15 of the 21st year of the Qianlong reign, "an agarwood gong vessel with dragon-and-phoenix decorations, encased in a box with a tin drawer containing honey, and accompanied by a silk case and silk wrapping, was inducted into the top-class collections of the Qianqing Palace." This conformed with records that stated agarwood was kept and nurtured in cases. The induction method for this piece of agarwood has caused it lose much of its original wood texture, and taking on an appearance as if coated in barley sugar. The form and decorative patterns of the vessel are carved in imitation of Western Han jade rhytons, and include openwork and relief carvings depicting phoenix patterns, chi-dragon patterns, and dragon patterns. An inscription above the ring pull in clerical script states, "Qian Long Nian Zhi (Made in the Qianlong Reign)." This was an important imitation vessel intended for display, and was later inducted into the collections of the Qianqing Palace following the addition of this official inscription, along with an accompanying tin case, silk case, and silk wrapper.