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Pilgrim Flask (Bian Hu)

A work made of stoneware with mold-impressed decoration under yellowish-brown lead glaze.
Public Domain

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  • A work made of stoneware with mold-impressed decoration under yellowish-brown lead glaze.


Sui (581–618) or early Tang dynasty (618–907), c. late 6th/7th century



About this artwork

The flat sides of this canteen-shaped container depict a youthful dancer and a musician who perform above a pair of romping lions. In their costumes and facial features, these performers resemble figures depicted in ancient Hellenistic art. The clarity of their features is partially obscured by a thickly applied glaze, as well as by the dense background of undulating foliage, floral heads, and grapevines. Some of these designs clearly derive from Central Asian metalwork. They may have been transmitted to China as decorative motifs on imported objects or alternatively, as background patterns on Buddhist images that were brought to China or created in China from Central Asian prototypes.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Pilgrim Flask (Bian Hu)


China (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

565 CE–699 CE


Stoneware with mold-impressed decoration under yellowish-brown lead glaze


24.1 × 20.4 × 12.2 cm (9 1/2 × 8 × 4 13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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