This large vase is a rare example of a cloisonné enamel vessel adopting the form and decoration of a famille rose enamelled porcelain type. So-called 'hundred deer' vases are well known and much prized among the porcelains of the Qianlong reign. The porcelain examples have handles that are sometimes enamelled in iron red with gilt. The current example is pierced on either side for the application of handles, although the lack of wear may suggest that these handles were never actually applied.
Although the porcelain 'hundred deer' vases simply have deer in a landscape setting, this cloisonné vase includes both deer and cranes. The deer symbolize career advancement and long life, while the cranes are additional symbols of longevity. This combination of deer and cranes appears on a large cloisonné enamel fish bowl also dated to the second half of the 18th century in the Uldry Collection, illustrated by H. Brinker and A. Lutz, Chinese Cloisonné: The Pierre Uldry Collection, New York, 1989, no. 322, pls. 322, 322a-b. See, also, the brush pot with landscape rendered in similar style, illustrated ibid., no. 318.