Friday, March 23, 2012

Asian Civilisation Museum - Artefact 1 : Flask

Period of time :  China, ca. 830
Material : Gilded Silver

This artefact is a flask in the Tang Dynasty and it is used to hold or store water .

Three differences to modern day version :

1. The material the modern flask was made from were different from the flask from the Tang Dynasty. Today, the flask is made up of plastic or metal which has thermal function.  These materials were more common in the present days. Plastic would be more durable and lighter in weight as compared to gilded silver. Metal with thermal is used now as it provided people with convenience to keep the water warm, remaining at that range of temperature. Unlike ceramics, these metals will not break as easily as ceramics.

2. The appearance of the flask has also changed in the modern days. In the past, the flask was exquisitely and sumptuously decorated. It was carved with stylized louts and the centre featured a pair of mandarin ducks. Attention was paid to every detail, as the elegant handle was beautifully formed as a snake. It was in the colour of the material, silver. It looked more like a decoration piece then a household item. Now, most flasks were not decorated as  fancily as in the past. Household flasks are available in different colours and patterns They may be just a circular container or a picture printed on it.

3. The size and the shape of the flask is different from the modern version. The flask in the olden time were huge in size and the handle is like a arc over the opening of the flask. The size and shape of the flask varies more, between small and large with different types of forms and sculptured flasks.

As time passes, the flask has evolved into a lighter and much more common household item in the modern days.

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