Blue-and-white flask, Italy

Blue-and-white flask, Italy

Blue-and-white flask
Italy, Florence
1575-87
Soft-paste porcelain, painted before glazing
Museum no. C.137-1914

Francesco de' Medici, grand duke of Tuscany, financed an early attempt to manufacture porcelain in Europe. Starting in 1568, his workshop made a material very close to Islamic fritware. Production ceased at Francesco's death in 1587, and only about 70 pieces survive.

The shape of this flask is derived from metalwork. But the hazy decoration in blue was inspired by either Chinese porcelain or its Middle Eastern counterparts.