The glaze on this Qianlong vase is a fine copy of early Ge ware. In the Qianlong reign Song dynasty stonewares, particularly the crackled wares of Ge, Guan and Ru type were very highly regarded by the emperor. Not only did the emperor collect Song dynasty examples of Ge wares, he also commissioned new porcelain with a similar glaze from the imperial kilns. So keen was Qianlong to affirm that this new Ge ware glaze was made in imitation of the Song originals, that on one brush washer in the Palace Museum there is an impressed mark reading: jinsi tiexin 'golden thread and iron wire', the traditional description of the two types of crackle lines on the Song wares. See The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 37 - Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 254, no. 232. The potters of the current vase have been particularly successful in achieving the 'golden thread and iron wire' effect in the crackle of this glaze.
Few vases of this large size and shape are published. However, one of similar size and shape and with a similar glaze is illustrated by Qian Zhengzong, Qingdai ciqi shangjian, Hong Kong, 1994, p. 145, no. 182, and a Yongzheng blue and white vase of this form in the Nanjing Museum is of similar size to the current Qianlong vase. See Qing Imperial Porcelain, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1995, no. 43. Other large vases with Song-type glazes usually have a faceted, hexagonal, shape like the Yongzheng vase with Guan-type glaze in the Palace Museum illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 37 - Monochrome Porcelain, op. cit., p. 226, no. 204. However, the potter who made the current vase managed to throw and fire the vase successfully without resorting to strengthening vertical joins. It is another archaistic aspect of this vessel's design that it is based upon a metalwork shape, evidenced by the tubular handles and also the sharp junction between the shoulder and body of the vessel. Interestingly, there is a smaller vase in the Baur Collection, the profile of which shares the current vase's sharp shoulder junction, which is illustrated by J. Ayers and M. Sato (eds.), Sekai toji zenshu - 15 - Qing, Tokyo, 1983, p. 111, no. 121. The Baur Collection vase does not have the tubular handles, but the link with metalwork is confirmed by the relief decoration, which has been adapted from that of ancient bronze vessels. The current vase, while having a shape that refers to ancient bronze forms, is undecorated so as not to detract from its beautiful glaze based on Song dynasty wares.