Previously sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 14 November 1989, lot 306 (one of two).
The inscription alludes to an anecdote concerning the Han Emperor Ai (Aidi 27 BC - 1 BC) who was renowned for being bi-sexual. Aidi woke up one day with the young man Dong Xian cradled on his arm sound asleep. So as not to disturb Dong, Aidi cut off his sleeve and slipped out his arm to attend to his court duties. The term 'passion of the torn sleeve' came to be synonymous with male homosexual love. Aidi died young from ailments due to overindulgence. Dong and his wife committed suicide under pressure from the new reign. The story became a cautionary tale and would have appealed to the Emperor Jiaqing who was known as a conscientious and frugal monrach.