The subject of this finely enameled vase is the celestial love story of Niulang the Herdboy and Zhinu the Spinning Maid, who represent the stars Vega and Altair in the heavens. The two sweethearts married and were so infatuated with each other that they neglected their duties. The Queen of Heaven became angry and with a bold stroke of her silver hairpin, drew a line across the sky which became the Milky Way, and the Herdboy and Spinning Maid were separated from each other. Their anguish was so great that the King of Heaven took pity and granted them a visit one night each year. On the seventh night of the seventh month, magpies fly together to form a bridge for the lovers to cross.