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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Porcelain flask of flattened globular form, with wide long neck tapering in the middle. There is a three-clawed dragon in reserve against a background of waves in underglaze cobalt blue on the exterior, a wide band of scrolling lotus flowers on the neck, and scrolling lotus leaves below the mouth rim.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1403-1424
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 446 millimetres
    • Weight: 7.2 kilograms
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Ming early 15th centuryRoom 95 label text:

    PDF 662

    Flask with white dragons on blue waves

    Both the Yongle (AD1403—24) and Xuande (AD1426—35) emperors sponsored important maritime trade and diplomatic missions to the Middle East. The form of this flask was not originally Chinese but was inspired by a Middle Eastern shape, possibly an enamelled glass vessel. During both the Yongle and Xuande emperors’ reigns, flasks in this large, heavy, bulbous form with variations to the decoration were made at the imperial kilns at Zhushan珠山 in Jingdezhen. Archaeologists unearthed a flask identical to this one with white dragons with incised details on blue waves, in 1994 at Dongmentou東門頭, Zhushan, Jingdezhen, from the Yongle strata. The imperial household probably used such flasks as wine decanters but also traded them as evidenced by similar flasks in the Topkapi Saray in Turkey and from the Ardabil Shrine in Iran.

    Porcelain with incised and underglaze cobalt-blue decoration
    Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province 江西省, 景德鎮
    Ming dynasty, Yongle period, AD 1403–24


  • Bibliography

    • Hobson 1934 p. 121, pl. CXX bibliographic details
    • Medley 1976 p.26, no.662 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2004 p.38, no.662 bibliographic details
    • Scott 1989b p.72, no.60 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2004A pp 42-43, no.13 bibliographic details
    • Scott 1989a pp 60-61, no.31 bibliographic details
    • Krahl & Harrison-Hall 2009 pp 62-63, no.29 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G95/dc58

  • Exhibition history

    2014 Sep-2015 Jan, BM WCEC, 'Ming: 50 years that changed China'

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    R. L. Hobson, 1934 records: Cf. Zimmermann, Meisterwerke der Turkischen Musee zu Konstantinopel, Vol.2, Pl. 38.

  • Department


  • Registration number


PDF,B.667 (Left) with PDF.662 (Right).

PDF,B.667 (Left) with PDF.662 (Right).

Image description



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Object reference number: RRC38997

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