Flasks of this type, which are also known with a slightly different rosette design, come in two different shapes, with and without a Xuande reign mark, possibly distinguishing Yongle (r.1403-24) and Xuande (r.1426-35) versions. While both versions were probably made in both periods, the present type may represent the slightly later Yongle version, its pleasing, harmonious proportions reflect a recalibration of the original shape, which is slightly taller and has a more elongated bulb. The taller shape is usually unmarked, whereas the present form, with its more pronounced pear-shaped bulb, typically bears a Xuande reign mark.
A similar flask from the Qing Court Collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Geng Baochang, ed., Gugong Bowuyuan cang Ming chu qinghua ci [Early Ming blue-and-white porcelain in the Palace Museum], vol. 1, Beijing, 2002, pl. 85; another in the Shanghai Museum, in Wang Qingzheng, Underglaze Blue and Red, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 52; both are attributed to the Xuande reign. Another similar flask from the Ardabil Shrine is in the National Museum of Iran, Teheran, published in Oriental Ceramics: The World’s Great Collections, vol. 4, Tokyo, New York, and San Francisco, 1980-82, col. pl. 58. For a similar flask of Xuande mark and period from the Sir Percival David Collection in the British Museum, London, see Stacey Pierson, Blue and White for China. Porcelain Treasures in the Percival David Collection, London, 2004, pl. 19.
A similar flask from the collection of Major Lindsay Hay was sold in our London rooms, 25th June 1946, lot 62; another sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 18th May 1982, lot 148, was included in the exhibition Chinese Porcelain. The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1987, cat. no. 14.
For flasks of this design with a more elongated neck, compare an unmarked example excavated from the waste heaps of the Ming imperial kilns at Jingdezhen included in the exhibition Jingdezhen chutu Ming chu guanyao ciqi / Imperial Hongwu and Yongle Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1996, cat. no. 65; or one in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, ed. John Ayers, London, 1986, vol. II, no. 616; and a flask of Xuande mark and period in the Palace Museum, Beijing, in Geng Baochang, op. cit., pl. 84.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale