This impressive oblong scroll weight, is richly decorated all over with flowers, in a bright famille verte colour palette using green, yellow, aubergine, copper-red and blue enamels. The long side panels, each have four large red and white lotus flowers, with gilt details. The rest of the surface is covered with seasonal flowers such as plum blossoms, chrysanthemums and peonies, all on a light green ground. The top of the weight has a corresponding panel with flowers, with a distinct handle, in the form of a gnarly branch surrounded by green twigs with tiny pink blossom flowers. The short sides, have openwork roundels, picked out in yellow, also decorated with flowers, with small blue scrolls in the corners. All the flowers and plants are finely outlined in black enamel. Contrastingly, the underside is white, painted loosely with a large spray of bamboo growing next to a single green rock.
Scroll weights such as this one, would have been used to weigh down a paper scroll, to prevent it from rolling up again. To be effective, a weight had to be sufficiently heavy, therefore stone or metal weights are more common than porcelain examples. This was a typical item that could be found in the study of a Chinese scholar- gentleman (wenren), where most objects involved study, painting, writing and contemplation. The space generally centred around a table, with numerous objects for aiding writing and painting all reflecting their erudition.
The Metropolitan Museum, New York, has an almost identical scroll weight (acc. nr.37.191.9). A very similar weight is depicted in Du Sartell’s publication from 1881, as well as in the Trapnell and Eumorfopoulos Collection catalogues. Similar richly enamelled objects, but without a handle and narrower in the middle, are referred to as being pillows or headrests. Examples of these can be found in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (acc. No. C.1103-1910) ), Musée Guimet, Paris (nr.G456) and The Taft Museum, Cincinnati.