An important artistic theme during the 18th century was the reproduction of ancient bronze shapes in ceramic form. In the case of the current vase, this antiquarian interest was extended further and combined with another popular fascination - that of imitating one material in another. Among the new glaze colours developed by Tang Ying, the Imperial Kiln supervisor right at the end of the Yongzheng reign were the group incorporating the so-called 'teadust' and 'ancient bronze' glazes, to which the glaze on the current vase belongs.
The origins of these glazes can be traced at least as far back as the Tang dynasty, when glazes of 'teadust' type were produced at a number of kiln sites in north China. Such glazes continued to find favour during the Song dynasty, but seem to have largely fallen out of favour thereafter, only coming to prominence again with the renewed interest in monochrome glazes in the early 18th century. The range of colours and textures amongst these yellowish and brownish-green glazes had led them to be given a number of evocative names. In addition to 'teadust', these include 'snakeskin green', 'eel-skin yellow', 'old monk's habit', 'turtle skin green', and 'crab-shell green'. The current version of this glaze that appears to imitate the patina of ancient bronzes and it is probable that this vase was reserved for imperial use.