Melons appear as a decorative element on underglaze blue-decorated porcelain as early as the Yuan dynasty. They are regarded as auspicious symbols of abundant progeny because of their many seeds, and because guadie (literally, "melon and newly forming melon") is taken to mean "spreading like melon vines," implying many offspring. The melon-like lobed sides of the bottle reinforce the auspicious imagery.
This form and design became popular in snuff bottles in the mid-Qing period, most of which were produced in the first half of the nineteenth century. They often bear apocryphal Yongzheng reign marks (which began to come into vogue for a growing collectors' market during the Daoguang period), but rarely one finds them without a reign mark, as here, and the style of the drawing and of the underglaze painting may indicate that this example pre-dates this production and probably comes from the very late Qianlong, or Jiaqing reign.