Flat-Sided Flask, early 15th century


This elegant porcelain of unusual form is a fine example of the technical and decorative excellence of Ming dynasty blue-and-white wares. The flat-sided flask is known in bronze vessels dating to the sixth century B.C. in China, but the particular form of this vessel, with its angled, tubular neck and loop handles, is thought to have been based on Islamic metal prototypes. The flask was constructed from several pieces of molded clay that were joined before firing. Its decoration features a medallion of radiating cloud-collar points that are filled with an abstract woven pattern; at its center is a flower blossom in a depression. Geometric and floral scrolls, set in concentric bands around the sides of the vessel, further emphasize the round shape. The density of the design is characteristic of early-fifteenth-century products of the Yongle (1403–24) or Xuande (1426–35) eras of the early Ming dynasty.

Adult: Flat-Sided Flask and Dish with Melon Design

Audio file
Kimbell Art Museum, Acoustiguide Inc.



The von Pflugk family, Castle of Strehla, near Dresden, Germany, from about 1683 to sometime after 1938.

Collection of Sir Percival (1892-1964) and Lady David, London, possibly from about 1942 to 1968;

(N.V. Hammer, Inc., New York);

purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1968.