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Yuan Dynasty, circa 1345
Height 14 1/2 inches (36.7 cm)

The flat, arched flask sits firmly on a low, knife-cut foot surrounding a slightly recessed base. The body is composed of a fine-grain paste of a pale gray color with no 'burning' from ferrous impurities; there are, however, spots of orange near the handles where the glaze has slipped. Each edge is painted in an inky blue with a vine of three stylized lotuses. Each shoulder is set with a pair of chilong handles painted a plain blue with white underbellies and the mouth (almost completely rebuilt) is decorated with running foliage. Each side is painted with a nearly identical design of a three-clawed water dragon running right and 'disputing' a pearl over surging waves and rockwork. On one side the head faces left and on the other the head faces right; above each dragon hangs a canopy of shaped pendants. The central pendant is decorated with a cock pheasant in a flowering shrub, the flanking half-pendants are filled with fields of flowers and foliage. The cobalt blue shades from relatively pale to darker areas with evenly scattered 'heaping and piling,' especially in the pendants and the ruyi head clouds.

Sir Harry Garner, via Bluett & Sons as agents for the Garner Estate, 1 May 1973. Garner inventory no. TR 15160/8

Ardebil Shrine, John Alexander Pope, Chinese Porcelains from the Ardebil Shrine, pl. 28 [two flasks, one with two phoenix, one with phoenix and kylin]
Topkapi Saray Museum, Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, vol. II, p. 503, no. 588 [single dragon]
Idemitsu Art Gallery, Tokyo [double dragon]
Victoria & Albert Museum, Eumorfopoulos Collection [single dragon]
Matsuoka Museum of Art: Originally sold, Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 11-12 May 1983, lot 87, bought by Eskenazi Ltd. for a private client and resold, Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 17 May 1988, lot 16

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1973
Mostra D'Arte Cinese, Venezia [Venice] 1954, no. 606

Margaret Medley, Yuan Porcelain & Stoneware, pl. 44B
Sherman Lee and Wai-kam Ho, Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty 1279-1368, pl. 136

Crack passing through the foot and up on side 12.5 cm. On the other side, the crack extends almost straight up the side, continuing to the mouth. At the center pendant, it branches right to the bottom of the right pendant and 43 cm onto the side. Old damage to the mouth created a crack extending at a sharp angle for 11.5 cm down the side. A shallow cup-shaped crack touches the edge of the neck and extends to the chilong on one end and 1 cm over the side, three chilong ears repaired and three chilong legs repaired

Presently, it appears that there are seven flasks of this form and size known to exist. Six are in museum collections, listed above, the Morrill example would appear to be the only flask to remain in private hands. On p. 55 in her book, Margaret Medley discusses the precise dating of this particular flask in relation to the other known examples. Note that the flask is illustrated in her book with an earlier repair to the neck and mouth. Mr. Morrill's file on this piece and his own annotated copies of Margaret Medley's book and Sherman Lee and Wai-Kam Ho's book will be sold with this lot.

Sold for $5,831,500
Estimate $500,000-750,000

Any condition statement is given as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Doyle New York shall have no responsibility for any error or omission. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging.