This porcelain vessel was a piece of furnishing fired by the imperial kiln in Jingdezhen for the Haiyan Hall (Hall of National Peace) of the Old Summer Place. It has a open mouth with a slightly out-turned lip, and the short neck leads to a convex bulging belly with a restrained bottom. Carved between the neck and shoulder of the vessel, two delicate white-glazed sea swallows with spreading wings serve as the ceramic’s handles. The external is indigo glazed, decorated with gold painted banana leaves and twining flowers designs on its belly, and its bottom decorated with pink lotus and linked-pearl designs. On the base are six Chinese characters in seal script reading “Made in the Qianlong period of the Great Qing”. It required repeated firing and painting processes, which and was a perfect integration of carving, decal and embossing craftsmanship. Indigo symbolizes the clear water and “swallow” (燕) shares a similar pronunciation with “晏” (Yan) in Chinese, so the whole piece implies that the Yellow River is clear and the seas are calm, and the whole world is at peace. The Qianlong period marked the peak manufacturing technique of famille rose porcelain with a complete range of categories and varied decoration techniques, outstanding painting level, and exquisite porcelain shape. This piece well embodies these characteristics.

Haiyan Hall was the largest palace in the Xiyang Lou (western mansions) in of the Old Summer Palace. A poem by Zheng Xi of Tang Dynasty reads that “the Yellow River is clear and the seas are calm; and the world is at peace”, which might be the origin of the name “Haiyan Hall” (Hall of National Peace). Haiyan Hall was also the most famous European style garden in the Old Summer Palace. The main building faced west, with 11 rooms respectively upstairs and downstairs. Hierarchical fountains and elaborate statues adorned the Haiyan Hall. Twelve bronze statues representing the Chinese zodiac could be found in front of the hall, surrounding a fountain pond in the splayed shape. Unfortunately, the world famous Old Summer Palace, together with the Haiyan Hall, was brutally looted and burned down in 1860 by the Anglo-French Allied Force. The original appearance of the Haiyan Hall could no longer be seen by later generations any more, making this indigo glazed porcelain Zun even more precious.