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flask

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    PDF.824

  • Description

    Bottle-shaped flask with flattened globular body and short narrow cylindrical neck with two cloud scroll handles joining neck and shoulder. The flask has a fine white body and slightly undulating 'chicken skin' glaze. There is a bird in a flowering tree in 'famille rose' palette enamel on the exterior.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1723-1735
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 293 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        reign mark
      • Inscription Position

        on base
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        大清雍正年製
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Da Qing Yongzheng nian zhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made in the Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign
      • Inscription Comment

        Six-character Yongzheng seal mark in underglaze blue
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Qing Yongzheng 1723-1735Room 95 label text:

    PDF 824

    Moon-shaped flask with birds


    Although the shape of this moon flask with flattened round body, tubular neck and cloud scroll handles is centuries old, referring to the porcelain bian hu first made at Jingdezhen for the Yongle emperor (AD1403—24) (see case 56), the decoration in terms of palette and technical skill is an innovation of the Yongzheng reign. On this fencai (powdered colours) flask on one side, two白頭翁bai tou weng (literally white-headed old man) birds are shown on the branches of a white and pink flowering branch, and on the other side a pair of white birds are shown perched in a different type of blossoming tree with a pair of butterflies fluttering above blue and purple asters. The detail used in the painting is remarkable, reflecting both the court commissioning of this piece and the supervision of its manufacture at the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen. Each group of naturalistic leaves is composed of up to four different shades of green and the shading on the blossoms is extraordinarily well defined. New colours include a blue enamel for the aster which replaced underglaze blue; a white enamel for the birds’ wings and puce for the birds’ legs and beaks. The birds are a rebus (visual pun) for 白頭富貴bai tou fu gui (white haired (in old age) (may you enjoy) riches and honour). The base carries an underglaze blue six-character Yongzheng seal mark.


    Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue and opaque fencai enamels
    Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province 江西省, 景德鎮
    Qing dynasty, Yongzheng seal mark and period, AD1723–35

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  • Bibliography

    • Medley 1975 Colour pl. 93 and p. 317 (Mark p. 278) bibliographic details
    • Hobson 1934 p. 170, pl. CLXIX bibliographic details
    • Scott 1989B p.106, no.110 bibliographic details
    • Lady David 1973 p.14, no.824 bibliographic details
    • Scott 1991 p.25, no.824 (Frontispiece & colour) bibliographic details
    • Scott 1989A p.83, no.51 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2002 p.86, no.90 bibliographic details
    • Krahl & Harrison-Hall 2009 pp 84-85, no.44 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G95/case64-6

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    R. L. Hobson, 1934 records: From the Collection of Lord Redesdale. PDF card: Acquired before 1934. Lord Redesdale Collection.

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    PDF.824

Bottle-shaped flask with flattened globular body and short narrow cylindrical neck with two cloud scroll handles joining neck and shoulder.  Fine white porcelain with slightly undulating 'chicken skin' glaze painted with 'famille rose' enamels with bird and flower design.

Bottle-shaped flask with flattened globular body and short narrow cylindrical neck with two cloud scroll handles joining neck and shoulder. Fine white porcelain with slightly undulating 'chicken skin' glaze painted with 'famille rose' enamels with bird and flower design.

Image description

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Object reference number: RRC39156

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