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Asian Art

Flask

early 15th century

Porcelain with cobalt blue under clear glaze

10 × 7 1/2 in. (25.4 × 19.05 cm)
Wayland Wells Williams, B.A. 1910, Collection, Gift of Mrs. Frances Wayland Williams
1949.289
Blue-and-white decoration is thought to have made its first appearance on porcelain during the second decade of the fourteenth century. By the middle of the century the technique of painting ground cobalt directly onto the leather-hard porcelain body before glazing and firing was well understood, as evidenced by a pair of vases dated to 1351. Initially cobalt, probably in cake form, was imported from Iran. Only in the fifteenth century were native Chinese sources of cobalt employed in the production of blue-and-white wares. Initially, too, most of the products, such as the large plate, appear to have been made for export to the Middle East.
Geography: 
China
Culture: 
Chinese
Period: 
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Classification: 
Containers - Ceramics
Provenance: 

Mathias Komor, New York, 1943; purchased by Wayland Wells Williams (1888–1945) Collection, New Haven, Conn.; Mrs. Frances Wayland Williams; gift in 1949 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Cornelius Osgood, Blue-and-White Chinese Porcelain: A Study of Form (New York: The Ronald Press Co., 1956), pl. 48.

E. T. Chow and F. S. Drake, “Yung-lo and Hsuan-te: A Study on Chinese Blue-and-White Porcelain,” Journal of Oriental Studies 4, nos. 1–2 (1957–58): 111–14, ill.

George J. Lee, Selected Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1970), 27, no. 39, ill.

Susan B. Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 76–77, 83, fig. 64.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.