Carved Gold Cup and Tray Inlaid with Pearls

 

Qing Dynasty
Height: 7.5cm
Cup Diameter: 7cm
Tray Diameter: 19cm

The round-mouthed tall cup is somewhat shaped like a cylinder with a big top and small bottom. The surface of the cup is engraved with flying dragons, surrounded by interlocked lotus branch motifs, with sea wave patterns close to the bottom. There's an ear on each side of the cup, with a lotus receptacle holding a big pearl at the top and hollowed-out characters in seal script below. The characters are "wanshou" on one ear and "wujiang" on another. The four characters together mean "boundless longevity". There are lingzhi motifs under the characters. There's a loop leg at the bottom of the cup.

The tray is relatively broad and has a wide edge, which is engraved with interlocked lotus branch motifs, with four pearls inlaid on four sides. The tray is flat inside, where eight lotus flowers are engraved. Four of the flowers are embedded with pearls as pistils. A round cup base with dragon motifs is raised in the middle.

This set of cup and tray was crafted in the Qing Dynasty workshop of the imperial household. The luxury set was for the emperor's exclusive use at grand banquets in the court. Gold cups of the Qing Dynasty bearing wishing words like "wanshou wujiang" are quite rare.