The first poem may be translated:
"Your strength is profound but alas how can it be you have no scent?
Even so you share pure fragrance with the spring breeze
It is as though your exceptional nature pities the common crowd
Your other-worldly nature has the enduring constancy of cherry blossom."
The second poem may be translated:
"During the Qing Ming Festival the welcome rain is glossy on the massed blossom
It is as if one were in the White Jade Palace of the Immortals
I divine that the wind is singing to itself among the irises
Perhaps boasting of the land south of the river."
The first poem probably alludes to the upright character of the recipient of the vase. The second poem ends with the reference to a poem by Yuan Jue (1266-1327), written at the time of the Qing Ming Festival, which contains the line, "South of the river it is forbidden to drink but to the North I drink. When I regain sobriety and see you, it is always with affection."
The enamelled decoration on this vase is extremely rare and unusually naturalistic in execution. Its closest comparison is with a flattened ovoid hu-shaped vase with similar poetic inscribed panels on a cloisonne enamel floral ground, from the Alfred Morrison Collection and Fonthill Heirlooms, sold in our London Rooms, 9 November 2004, lot 52. Cf. also a smaller moonflask-shaped wall-vase with a similar poetic panel, illustrated in Enamel Ware in the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1999, no. 46.