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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

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  • Description

    Yue stoneware flask in the form of two confronted fish, with the two tails forming a foot, vertical ridges to indicate dorsal fins, and two small lugs at the shoulder. The flask has greyish olive green glaze on the exterior. There are naturalistic details of scales, gills and eyes incised onto the flask.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 9thC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 236 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Room 95 label text:

    PDF 251

    Double-fish shaped flask

    This flask has loops at the top and bottom of the sides for threading a cord through to carry it. It is skilfully modelled in the form of paired fish. Chinese people regard paired fish as a rebus (visual pun) for abundance as the words for both fish 魚 and abundance 餘, are pronounced yu. In China, the eighth and ninth century marked a shift in economic power from the north to the south and this coincided with a revival of the prosperity of the southern Yue ware kilns located in Yuezhou in modern Zhejiang province. Flasks of this form were also made in North China at the Xing kilns.

    Stoneware with incised and applied details and a thin dull-olive green glaze
    Yue ware 越窯
    Shanglinhu kilns, Zhejiang province 浙江省, 上林湖窯
    Tang dynasty, about AD 800–907For a Xing ware white flask in the shape of two fish see Zhang Bai (ed), Complete Collection of Ceramic Art Unearthed in China, volume 3, Hebei, 中國出土瓷器全,Beijing 2008, p. 53. This was unearthed in Jingxing county in 1964 and is in the Hebei Centre for Cultural Heritage Protection Ht. 21 cm


  • Bibliography

    • Pierson 2002 p.32, no.3 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 1997 p.39, no.251 bibliographic details
    • Medley 1974 p.5, no.251 bibliographic details
    • Medley 1977 pp 10-11, no.8 bibliographic details
    • Scott 1989A pp 18-19, no.1 bibliographic details
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Object reference number: RRC38668

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