The form and decoration of the present stem bowl were achieved by growing the gourd into a mold of pre-determined shape. Works of art produced in this medium were particularly popular during the reign of the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors. In fact, the Qianlong emperor was once known to have written a poem in praise of a gourd bowl grown by the Kangxi emperor himself. The poem describes how Kangxi grew gourds in an area of experimental plots he had set aside in the Imperial West Garden for the cultivation of improved strains of rice.
Several Qianlong-marked molded gourd vessels are illustrated by Wang Shixiang, The Charms of the Gourd, Hong Kong, 1993; p. 195, pl. 16, a bowl molded with six lotus sprays similar to the present bowl; p. 196, pl. 17, a bowl decorated with scrolling clouds; and p. 197, pl. 18, a bowl decorated with dragons pursuing flaming pearls.