About this artwork
Trans-Asiatic trade expanded the Chinese repertoire of simple, wheel-thrown clay shapes to include composite forms pressed in molds. This pilgrim flask—a vessel shape that may imitate forms originally made in glass, leather, or metalwork —depicts a young boy adorned with a billowing scarf, who dances with a lion. Although similar images can be traced back to Hellenistic Greece (c. 300-200 B.C.), the extent of such Classical influence on the much later art of Tang dynasty China has yet to be determined.
This vessel displays a fluid “three-color” (sancai) glaze, named after the archetypical combination of bright green, amber, and white (transparent) lead-rich glazes that have been colored with carefully measured recipes of metallic oxides. The green derives from copper and the amber from iron.
- Pilgrim Flask
- 701 CE–750 CE
- Earthenware with three-color (sancai) lead glazes
- 19.2 × 15.5 × 14.5 cm (7.6 × 6.1 × 5.7 in.)
- Bequest of Henry C. Schwab