A cloisonné enamel moon flask

A cloisonné enamel moon flask


Ming dynasty, 16th century
Height: 6 1/2 in, 16.5 cm

supported on a short oval foot, the circular body, of flattened oval section, rises to a cylindrical neck; two gilt-bronze cloud-shaped handles are set on the shoulder and neck. The vessel is decorated in coloured enamels on a turquoise ground with a coiling smooth dragon surrounded by lotus scrolls to each face. The mouth rim and foot are gilt.

Formerly in the Reid collection.

Illustrated: Till and Swart, Antique Chinese Cloisonné, no. 11.

This shape is well known in porcelain of the fifteenth century: see, for example, Garner, Oriental Blue and White, pl. 30A, from the Clark collection.

For very similar cloisonné enamel flasks, dated sixteenth century, see Brown, Chinese Cloisonné: The Clague Collection, pl. 12, pp. 40–1; and Spink & Son, The Minor Arts of China III, no. 89, p. 74.

Note also vessels of similar shape but with different decoration in Avitabile, Die Ware aus dem Teufelsland: Chinesische und japanische Cloisonné- und Champlevé-Arbeiten von 1400 bis 1900, no. 13, p. 55, in the collection of the Linden-Museum, Stuttgart; and in Brinker and Lutz, Chinese Cloisonné: The Pierre Uldry Collection, no. 204.