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Blue and White Gourd-Ribbed Flask with Floral Design

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Period: Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Dimensions: height: 31 cm; mouth diameter: 6.3 cm; foot diameter: 11.5 cm

This flask has a flared mouth of silver, a long neck, low body, and round foot. The body is in the shape of a six-rib gourd. A lustrous glaze with blue designs covers the rather thick clay core. While the neck is embellished with flowers and butterflies, the six-ribbed gourd body has reserved panels of foliated floral designs. The area around the foot has additional floral designs.

The piece belongs to a class made exclusively for sale on the foreign market in Southeast Asia during the Wanli reign (1573–1620) of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). At the time, due to the fancies of people in foreign lands, beautiful silver fixtures on the mouths and spouts of ceramic vessels were often added later. This supplementary fabrication served to protect the mouths and spouts from chipping and provided additional decoration. The additions also reflect foreign styles.

This flask was donated to the Palace Museum by Han Wai Toon (Han Huaizhun, 1892–1970).

Chinese entry by Dong Jianli
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign, Zhuang Ying, and Kang Xiaolu

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