The water vessel is formed from one large bamboo section into the shape of a melon, with lateral ridges carved in high relief and lush leaves and vines emitting from its root wrapping along the side of the body. An insect rests inside a curled leaf gently placed next to the rim. Incised along one side of the vessel is an inscription which reads 綿綿瓜瓞‘Young melons grow on long and unbroken vines’ – an excerpt based on 詩．大雅．綿The Book of Odes, Greater Elegentiae, Mian (Long and Unbroken) (Ode 237), and signed 仲謙製 ‘made by Zhonglian.’
In the original context of the inscription, the line is a metaphor for the continuous and great growth in the population of the early Zhou people, but later it serves as a metaphor for a continuous progeny of sons, grandsons, and future descendents.
Zhongqian 仲謙 is the zi (personal name) of Pu Zheng 濮澄, who is a prominent carver of bamboo, wood other materials and founder of the Jinling (Nanjing) carving school. He was active in the late Ming to early Qing periods.
The water coupe rests on a zitan base with openwork foliage decoration.