The short inscription is a two verse poem in reminiscence of home. The two characters, 'Zhi Yan', are the style name of the early Qing dynasty carver, Zhou Hao (1686-1774), who is recorded in Zhongguo Meishujia Renming Cidian, Shanghai renmin meishu chubanshe, 2003, p. 504. A carver from Jiading (present day Shanghai), Zhou Hao was well-known for his carving of landscapes in the style of the Yuan dynasty master Wang Meng (1308-1385). Zhou was celebrated for his sparsely-decorated landscape carvings of bamboo and rockwork carved in negative relief.
The artist has made clever use of the carving so that when placed upside down, the design works equally well showing the bamboo growing upwards from the rockwork.
Compare with a very similarly decorated brushpot of almost identical size in the Julia Y. Cheng Collection, illustrated by Wang Shixiang and Wan-go Weng in Bamboo Carving of China, New York, 1983, p. 98, no. 37. Other examples of Zhou's work are illustrated by H.L. Huang in The Exquisite Art of Bamboo Carving, Taipei, 2007, pp. 202-219.