This exquisitely painted vase is a fine representation of the skill of the enamel painters at the Imperial kilns during the Qianlong period. The decoration represents abundant auspicious wishes, making it an appropriate gift for a birthday or a wedding.
The flowers depicted in the two panels represent flowers found during two seasons, Spring and Autumn, and also have auspicious meanings. The panel painted with peony, crabapple and begonia represents Spring, as all of the flowers bloom at the same time. According to T. T. Bartholomew in Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2006, p. 137, no. 6.6.1, the combination of crabapple (haitang) and peony (fuguihua) conveys the wishes, "May the entire family be wealthy and honored" (mantang fugui). The flowers depicted in the other panel, chrysanthemum, wanshouju and amaranth, also bloom together and represent Autumn. Chrysanthemum (juhua) is a symbol of longevity, and wanshouju, which is a long-stemmed marigold and of either yellow or orange color, resembles the chrysanthemum, and its name translates as "chrysanthemum of ten thousand longevities". Bartholomew notes, op. cit., p. 197, no. 7.38, that it was "used during the Qing dynasty as a pictorial pun to wish the emperor a long life of ten thousand years." The surrounding scroll decoration also contains wishes for blessings and longevity.