The decoration of confronted chilong on the present vase is related to designs inlaid in precious metals on bronzes of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) and Han (206 BC-AD 220) dynasties. Such archaistic decoration was greatly admired by the Qianlong emperor, himself an avid collector and admirer of antiques, and appears on a number of the decorative arts made for his court. The Qianlong emperor appears to have had a particular fascination with carved red-overlay glass works; the first entries in the Palace Archives relating to glass in the first year of the Qianlong reign cite an order for two red-overlay glass vases, one on an opaque white ground (see Luster of Autumn Water - Glass of the Qing Imperial Workshop, Beijing, 2005, p. 74).
Two glassworking techniques were employed in the manufacture of the present example, combining the extraordinary lapidary skills of the carver with the technical achievements forged in the Imperial Glassworks during the Qianlong period, as seen on the carved ruby red bands of decoration and the swirled red and white foot. A related red-overlay glass double vase carved with bands of red archaistic motifs on a clear ground, also dating to the Qianlong period, is illustrated in Elegance and Radiance: grandeur in Qing glass, the Andrew K.F. Lee Collection, Hong Kong: Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2000, p. 280. pl. 104. See, also a related Imperial four-color glass hu-form vase from the Shorenstein Collection sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1 December 2010, lot 2929.