The couplet reads: Guihua wuxian yue, huaman ziran qiu; and may be translated as: 'Osmanthus grows notwithstanding the moon; when heavy with blossoms, Autumn will naturally arrive'.
This same couplet, comprising five characters per line, is recorded on a lime-green-ground famille rose bowl with a Yongzheng mark in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, included in the Special Exhibition of Ch'ing Dynasty Enamelled Porcelains of the Imperial Ateliers, and illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 12.
The calligraphic style of the brushstrokes carved on the present vase is closely related to those written on the bowl, suggesting the ease in which styles and motifs were transferred between different media in the Palace workshops, and were continued to the Qianlong period.
Although this decorative treatment does appear on glass snuff bottles, such as the example carved with the couplet: 'The finger of Heaven's majesty makes a clean sweep of evil influence', illustrated by H. Moss, V. Graham and K. Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, vol. II, New York, 1993, no. 375; it is highly unusual to find poems carved on overlay work of larger items such as the present vase.