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Flask - White Porcelain Flask with Leaf and Flower Design Painted in Underglaze Cobalt Blue and Inscription of "Su(壽)"
  • White Porcelain Flask with Leaf and Flower Design Painted in Underglaze Cobalt Blue and Inscription of "Su(壽)"
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White Porcelain Flask with Leaf and Flower Design Painted in Underglaze Cobalt Blue and Inscription of "Su(壽)"

  • Object:

    Flask

  • Place of origin:

    Korea (a kiln site in Bunwon-ri, Gwangju, made)

  • Date:

    1750-1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain, thrown, painted in cobalt blue and glazed

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lieutenant-Colonel Kenneth Dingwall D.S.O. through Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    C.668-1923

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 18, shelf 1

White porcelain, made from a mixture of clay and crushed rock fired at a very high temperature, was first produced in Korea in the Koryo dynasty (918–1392). By the time this wine flask was made in the late Choson dynasty (1392–1910) such porcelain had come to dominate ceramic production. Plain white wares, with their connotations of purity and honesty, were popular in a culture embedded in Confucian philosophy. However, porcelains painted under the glaze with iron brown, copper red and, as in this case, cobalt blue were also prized.

Repeated three times around the bulbous body of the flask is the Chinese character for longevity surrounded by four bats, which carry the same symbolic meaning, and a scrollwork frame.

Physical description

Wine flask with bulbous body and long straight neck. Painted in underglaze blue round the body are longevity characters and bats in scrollwork. A mark carved on the base reads 'kwi yu k'un tyon', cf C.93-1937.

This flask has a globular body and a long neck. It is painted in three places in underglaze cobalt blue with designs consisting of floral scrolls and bat cartouches enclosing the character "壽"(su), meaning longevity. A glossy bluish-white glaze is applied evenly to the whole surface of the flask, which was made at a kiln in Bunwon-ri, Gwangju, in the late 18th century.

Place of Origin

Korea (a kiln site in Bunwon-ri, Gwangju, made)

Date

1750-1800 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Porcelain, thrown, painted in cobalt blue and glazed

Marks and inscriptions

"壽"
"su", meaning longevity

Dimensions

Height: 36.1 cm, Diameter: 19.5 cm widest, Diameter: 5.2 cm mouth, Diameter: 11.5 cm base

Descriptive line

Wine flask, porcelain painted in underglaze blue, Korea, Choson dynasty, 1750-1800.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Wilkinson, Liz. Birds, Bats & Butterflies in Korean Art. London: Sun Tree Publishing, Singapore, 1996, pp. 44-45.
National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. Daejeon: National Research Institue of Cultural Heritage, 2013, p. 150.

Materials

Porcelain; Cobalt oxide

Techniques

Painted; Glazed; Thrown

Subjects depicted

Bats; Flower; Scrollwork

Categories

Porcelain; Drinking; Ceramics

Collection

East Asia Collection

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