Subjects of this kind, taken from everyday life, novels, legend and mythology, became popular during the Qianlong period. The ground is the typical "snowstorm" so widely used during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Zhao Zhiqian considered red overlays on a "snowstorm" ground to be the best of old overlays. He wrote, "The most popular type is cloudy glass with a red overlay (taohong) and those of this type with a 'lotus root powder' ground are thought to be the best". The carved decoration seems to depict two of the Four Noble Occupations (scholar, farmer, fisherman and woodcutter).
The pavilion perched on stilts in a fast-flowing current, a reasonably common image in Chinese art, may be interpreted as embodying the maxim: "He who can shoulder great responsibility in dangerous situations" (zhongliu dizhu). The image of the pavilion on stilts in a fast-flowing current suggests the first part of the maxim, zhongliu (mid-current). The image of the water flowing against (di) the stilts (zhu) completes the phrase. The bamboo (zhu) reinforces the pun on the character for stilts.
See a red overlay glass bottle with a scene of two fishermen illustrated by Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 372, which echoes the everyday genre scene depicted here.