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Gold Tea Bowl with Characters for Longevity and Happiness, Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Gold, height: 6 cm, mouth diameter: 9.5 cm, foot diameter: 5.1 cm © The Palace Museum. 

The tea bowl is made of a metal alloy that is eighty percent pure gold. Both the exterior lip and the foot ring are rimmed with meandering patterns. The stomach is incised with four medallion characters for longevity (shou) and four double happiness (xi) characters. The area above the foot ring is decorated with a circle of lotus. The foot bears an inscription indicting the year of manufacture and weight of the bowl.   

The tea bowl has exquisite carvings and an elegant design. Even in the Qing court, gold objects were not used by the emperor in his daily life. Displayed in the grand ceremonies, this tea bowl was made based on the description in the record of the Collective Rituals of the Great Qing Dynasty (Daqing huidian).