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flask

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    PDF.600

  • Description

    Porcelain flask of double gourd form with flattened lower section, strap handles rising from the shoulder, and a rectangular foot. The flask has stylised flower and yin yang symbol in underglaze blue in the centre on one side of lower bulb, a chevron pattern in underglaze blue on the other side, chrysanthemum sprays in underglaze blue on the upper bulb and the base of each strap handle. The base is glazed.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1426-1435
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 260 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        reign mark
      • Inscription Position

        benearth the rim
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        大明宣德年製
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Da Ming Xuande nian zhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made in the Ming dynasty, Xuande reign
      • Inscription Comment

        Six-character Xuande mark written horizontally beneath the rim
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Ming Xuande 1426-1435Room 95 label text:

    PDF 600

    Gourd-shaped flask


    This gourd-shaped flask has an underglaze blue Xuande reign mark. Potters decorated the round bodyof the flask with stylised flowers which resemble patterns made by kaleidoscopes. The blue of the Xuande flask is typically much paler than that of the Yongle flask (PDF 674). Syrian craftsmen made metal flasks in this shape in the fourteenth century. The Xuande emperor’s interest in foreign metalwork forms reflects the cordial diplomatic and economic relations between China and countries in the Middle East such as Syria during his reign.


    Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue decoration
    Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province 江西省, 景德鎮
    Ming dynasty, Xuande mark and period, AD 1426–35

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  • Bibliography

    • Medley 1975 Colour pl. 44 and p. 310 bibliographic details
    • Hobson 1934 p. 118, pl. CXVII bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2001 p. 77, no. 77 bibliographic details
    • Medley 1976 p.15, no.600 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2004 p.21, no.600 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2004A pp 54-55, no.19 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

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

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    R. L. Hobson, 1934 records: 'There is a similar flask (unmarked) in the Old Seraglio at Constantinople.'

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    PDF.600

Porcelain flask of double gourd form with flattened lower section and strap handles rising from the shoulder. Decorated in underglaze blue. Stylised flower and yin yang symbol in the centre on one side of lower bulb and a chevron pattern on the other. Chrysanthemum sprays on upper bulb and the base of each strap handle. Rectangular foot and glazed base.

Porcelain flask of double gourd form with flattened lower section and strap handles rising from the shoulder. Decorated in underglaze blue. Stylised flower and yin yang symbol in the centre on one side of lower bulb and a chevron pattern on the other. Chrysanthemum sprays on upper bulb and the base of each strap handle. Rectangular foot and glazed base.

Copyright SOAS All rights reserved

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Object reference number: RRC38943

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