The various areas of the vase may be imitating other materials: the ivory body imitating jade; the carved red areas, carved red lacquer; the handles, lapis lazuli; and the rim, emerald green jade.
A similarly designed three-colour glass alms-bowl, unmarked but dated to the Qianlong period, is illustrated by Zhang Rong (ed.), Luster of Autumn Water: Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2005, p. 209, no. 59 (see fig. 1), where the author mentions that this type of multi-coloured glass is extremely rare and only three examples are in the Beijing Palace Museum. Also illustrated, p. 283, no. 112, is a five-colour glass vase with red, white and blue diagonally swirled stripes around the body, dark green foot, and turquoise mouth rim, which has the same unusual Qianlong four-character mark, evenly spaced around the bottom of the foot that is found on the present vase, and on another five-colour glass vase in the Palace Museum, illustrated, ibid., no. 51.