The present vase, in both its shape and glaze, reflects the Qianlong Emperor’s fascination with antiques. The shape of this vase is in imitation of a Han dynasty (220 BC-AD 220) bronze wine vessel, hu, examples of which were undoubtedly available in the imperial collections in the 18th century. The crackled glaze recalls the glaze on the Guan wares made for the Southern Song (AD 1127-1279) court, further reinforcing the theme of archaism when used on this vase in the shape of an ancient bronze.
Compare the current vase to a Qianlong-marked Ru-type hu-form vase of the same shape, but of larger size (21 15/16 in.), in the Brooklyn Museum, no. 32.1244, and to another Qianlong period Ru-type vase of slightly larger size (13 3/8 in.) with animal masks on the shoulders, but lacking the rings.