This unusual double-peach wall vase may have been intended for use within the palace, but may also have been intended for the inside of a carriage or sedan chair. Wall vases were popular in a number of different materials in the Qianlong reign, and pairs of porcelain wall vases are known to have been commissioned in 1742 to bear imperial inscriptions stating that they were for use in an imperial sedan chair. An example of such a porcelain sedan-chair vase is preserved in the Percival David Foundation (illustrated and discussed by Rosemary Scott in For the Imperial Court - Qing Porcelain from the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, American Federation of Arts, New York, 1998, pp. 18-19 and 52-3, no. 3). A pair of similarly dated porcelain sedan chair vases, of different design, is preserved in the Nanjing Museum (illustrated in Qing Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Reigns, Art Gallery, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1995, no. 97).
This attractive cloisonné double peach wall vase, is very rare, not only in its form, but also for the fact that it has an inscription in cursive calligraphy forming part of its design, and the two characters indicating imperial manufacture yu zhi appear one on each of the two peaches. The choice of peaches with branches and leaves was a popular one in many media, since the peach was a symbol of longevity, and two peaches thus symbolised doubled longevity. As such this vase would have been an ideal gift on the occasion of an imperial birthday.
A number of double-peach forms are to be found among enamelled metal objects in the 18th century, although double peach vases are rare. A cloisonné double peach shaped box with flowering peach branch, dating to the second half 18th century is illustrated by H. Brinker and A. Lutz, in Chinese Cloisonné- The Pierre Uldry Collection, Asia Society Galleries, New York, 1989, no. 302. A double peach-shaped Qianlong cloisonné jardinière with pomegranate and lingzhi appliqué is in the Robert Chang collection (illustrated in Colorful, Elegant, and Exquisite - A Special Exhibition of Imperial Enamel Ware from Mr. Robert Chang's Collection, Suzhou Museum, 2008, p. 122).
A Yongzheng painted enamel peach shaped water pot with small peach on the side, with its twig curled under it to form a base, plus two red bats painted on the large peach, giving the wish happiness and doubled longevity is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing (illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum 43 Metal-bodied Enamel Ware, Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 203, no. 194). This Yongzheng water pot, which is from the Qing court collection, has leaves curled up the sides of the peach in the same manner as can be seen on the current cloisonné wall vase.
Cursive calligraphy in cloisonné is rare, but a pair of cloisonné water pots, dating to the mid-19th century, decorated with with prunus on one side and a poem in cursive script on the other is in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei (illustrated in Enamel Ware in the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1999, p. 163, no. 76).