Similar large moon flasks are illustrated in Zhongguo Li Dai Jingdezhen Chi Qi - Qing Juan ( China's Jingdezhen Porcelain Through the Ages - Qing Dynasty), Beijing 1998, p. 169, from the Nanjing Museum; by M. Beurdeley and G. Raindre, Qing Porcelain, London, 1987, pl. 154, formerly in the Edward Chow Collection; in Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 15, Japan, 1983, p. 150, col. pl. 151; in Blue-and-White Ware of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Book II, Hong Kong, 1968, pl. 15; and by D. Macintosh, Chinese Blue and White Porcelain, London, 1988 ed., pl. 59. See, also, the example sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 18-19 March 1991, lot 572 and another sold in our London rooms, 18 June 2002, lot 197.
The shape of these large Qianlong flasks is based on Ming dynasty 15th century prototypes, which had a convex side that was decorated and a flat, unglazed back with a countersunk medallion in the center. For a Yongle (1403-24) example see the flask in the Freer Gallery of Art, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, Tokyo, vol. 9, 1981, no. 94. These 15th century blue and white porcelain flasks were themselves based on silver-inlaid brass prototypes, such as a mid-13th century example from Syria, in the Freer Gallery of Art, illustrated in the Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 November 1999, catalogue, p. 21, fig. 4.