This flask appears to be unique, and any flasks of this form painted with designs other than the well-known formal rosette are very rare. A flask in the Sir Percival David Collection in the British Museum, London, painted with a peony spray in a similar symmetrical arrangement, is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, 1980-82, vol. 6, no. 75.
Two blue-and-white flasks of this form with the well-known rosette design were 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, with an oval foot, and attributed to the Yongle period, and cat. no. 134, with a square foot, attributed to the Xuande reign, as well as a plain white Yongle example without a foot, cat. no. 91.
This distinctive lotus design is better known from flasks and vases of different form; see, for example, a moonflask with similar lotus scrolls from the Bishu Shanzhuang ('Mountain Villa to Escape the Heat'), the summer retreat of the Qing Emperors in Chengde, north of Beijing, published in Zhongguo taoci quanji [Complete series on Chinese ceramics], Shanghai, 1999-2000, vol. 12, pl. 17; as well as a large flask and a bottle vase in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, included in the Museum's exhibition Mingdai chunian ciqi tezhan mulu/Catalogue of a Special Exhibition of Early Ming Period Porcelain, Taipei, 1982, cat. nos. 3 and 4. The development of this lotus design can be observed on a slightly later, much larger flask inscribed with a Xuande reign mark, also in the British Museum, published in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, pl. 4:16.
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