- Museum number
Porcelain Bian hu moon flask with underglaze blue decoration, cut-down neck and ground-down base. This bian hu moon-shaped flask has a flattened round body. It was made in two vertical halves and joined together. Its tubular neck is narrow and has been cut down and pierced through. On either side are bracket-shaped handles which are also pierced at the top. Its oval base is flat and has been ground smooth. A blooming and budding peony scroll with leafy foliage is painted over the flask with a border of overlapping lotus petals around the foot and a lappet collar around the base of the neck. Lingzhi adorn the handles and tubular neck.
- Production date
Height: 22 centimetres
Width: 19.50 centimetres
Depth: 10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Harrison-Hall 2001:
This flask was made in the early fifteenth century in either the Yongle or Xuande era. A bian hu flask of the same form with decoration of camellia branches was unearthed from the Yongle stratum at Dongmentou, Zhushan, Jingdezhen, in 1994. Heavily executed peony designs of this type are known from Xuande mark and period excavated ceramics such as the xishuaiguan [cricket cage] excavated at Zhushan, Jingdezhen, in 1993.
The ownership of this moon flask, unlike that of many porcelains in the British Museum, can be traced back 350 years. Towards the bottom of the moon flask on one side is an engraved collector's mark, coloured in red. This is the name of the Mughal emperor and munificent patron of the arts, 'Alamgir (Awrangzib) (reigned 1658-1707), together with the Hijra date 1070 (ad 1659-60), the second year of his reign. The flask may have reached the Mughal court through trade or as a diplomatic gift. Chinese porcelains were favoured as Mughal court tablewares and are depicted in contemporary Mughal paintings. In 1910 this flask was displayed at the Burlington Fine Arts Club in London; it was owned at the time by Mrs W. S. Halsey who had acquired it in India.
- On display (G33/dc62b/s3)
- Exhibition history
2011 June - Sept , 'Gifts of the Sultans', LACMA
2011 Oct - 2012 Jan , 'Gifts of the Sultans', Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
2012 Feb - June, 'Gifts of the Sultans', Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: D12 (Sedgwick number)