Gourd-shaped Ewer with Dragons in Clouds, Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Gold and semi-precious stones. Height: 28.8 cm, mouth diameter: 5.3 cm, foot diameter: 10.1cm © The Palace Museum. 

The gourd-shaped ewer is made of an alloy which is seventy percent pure gold. Its spout is decorated with a beast and linked to the body by a dragon. The exterior is incised with a motif depicting two dragons competing for a pearl. The ewer has inlays of various semi-precious stones including pearl, ruby, turquoise, coral, and lapis lazuli. The area above the foot ring is carved with patterns of mountains and waves. A gold chain links the cover and the handle.   

The gold ewer combines incised patterns and semi-precious stone inlays to enhance its beauty. It was presumably one of a pair of wine vessels that was used at banquets for the emperor or the empress.