In the Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, it was revealed that

The Dwarf in the Flask was an experiment of the King of Xerxes and that it has Van Hohenheim's blood.

But it wasn't explained what method was used to create him. So, how was The Dwarf in the Flask created? Was it ever explained in the manga?

  • 4
    In my memory, there's no explanation in the manga. I can probably go over the relevant chapters later, if I feel sufficiently compelled to.
    – Maroon
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 8:29

5 Answers 5


The backstory of van Hohenheim and Father is discussed in chapter 74 and 75. All we see is this:

  1. The Dwarf in the Flask talks to slave no. 23, whom he names.

  2. Van Hohenheim is taught to read and write, and ends up in a better position in the household.

  3. The king wants immortality, and the homunculus tricks him and destroys the whole country, excepting Hohenheim.

The only thing relevant in these chapters to how the homunculus was created is this: it notes that blood was taken from Hohenheim to create the homunculus.

From chapter 74:

chapter 74 excerpt

The notion that they have blood relation is repeated later in chapter 75, but this is the main thing we ever get as to the origin of the Dwarf in the Flask.

It's possible of course that there might have been more information in bonus material to the series, but the fact that the Wikia lacks anything beyond this and that I've never seen any serious commentary on this among fans of FMA suggest that this probably isn't the case.

  • 1
    What about the end when "Father" faces "God"? If I recall correctly truth says that the homunculus is going to return to the other side of the gate. Doesn't that imply that that's where the dwarf originated? If that is true, the alchemists of Xerxes didn't create the Dwarf in the flask but rather forced it to their realm and provided a containment that could hold it. The dwarf even looks like the shadows behind the door and might have been one of the arms that come out of the eye when the gate is opened.
    – hajef
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 21:44
  • 1
    @hajef: That sounds plausible. I don't remember though if the Gate might also be a catch-all for some sort of cosmic force that everything comes from, which might affect the interpretation. The other problem is that what the "Gate" is is slightly inconsistent. It's Ed's ability to do alchemy, but we also see celestial bodies with gates, and even aside from that, not everyone can do alchemy in FMA.
    – Maroon
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 19:05
  • Check this video out for a quite extensive and consistent theory on what lies beyond the gate and what alchemy is. As you said, basically everything comes from it (that is every concept does) and alchemy is the ability to tap into the gate. On the other hand, if you believe in mankind as a selective consciousness (individual humans as nerves that still are greatly unorganized and don't work together efficiently yet like a toddler's brain), it is easy to see why "the world" (mankind) has a gate two. Ed didn't perform alchemy either when he was 2.
    – hajef
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 19:32

Fullmetal Alchemist is an Anime that IS somewhat based on real alchemy, so you can ask this question by thinking about Real Alchemy in this very own world we live in.
In the past, many alchemists tried to create artificial life-forms called homunculus, which was used in this anime as a base for the homunculus in the anime.
The Dwarf in the Flask looks very similar to what alchemists at that time were trying to do, like trying to fertilize a chicken egg with their own semen and blood, seal it inside a flask and hope that a small human would be born from that interaction.
Homunculus in a Flask

So, as he was made inside a flask, he probably was made in a similar manner, we just don't have the exact "recipe"

Here are some references and interesting facts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homunculus
By the way, I didn't know, but Paracelsus was credited for the first mention on Homunculus.

Paracelsus was the inspiration behind Hohenheim, which is where his name came from:

Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim


  • Straight from wikipedia: In the manga and anime series Fullmetal Alchemist, the Elric brothers' father's name is Van Hohenheim. Van Hohenheim receives his name after being offered the name "Theophrastus Bombastus" by the Dwarf in the Flask and refusing it. Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 14:08
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    I'm with Miguel Vieira on this. Just as the philosopher's stone was brought up based on The Alchemist, Nicholas Flamel from French myth whose said to have created one, Dwarf and Hohenheim were taken from our Alchemical history. Alchehestry is derived from our eastern Alchemy which focused more on gold and the elixir of life (so medical properties). And even some of the major transmutation in the show are like real Alchemy in their need to relate with the positioning of the heavens, which is a common need for any transmutation in our alchemy.
    – Lenora
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 4:47

Considering the Dwarf in the Flask knew a vastly complicated array like the Xerxes Array, it's probably a piece of Gate Knowledge put into a body by an alchemist using Slave 23's blood. This is corroborated by those little black hands that grab anyone entering the Gate, which look remarkably like the Dwarf's hands.


Dwarf in the flask is in my opinion a depiction of the emerald tablet. The father or creator of alchemy and all alchemical nature's. It is also the thing the philosopher stone was created from.

  • 1
    Hi. Welcome to Anime and Manga Stack Exchange. Opinion based answers are usually deemed not of enough quality. Add instances from Anime or Manga to support your hypothesis.
    – Arcane
    Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 4:55

Like Mihreia said above, I also believe the little Dwarf in the flask to be a piece of the gate. Partly because of it's vast knowledge and the very easily recognizable little black hands that strech out to grab things. Though I want to add that the people of Xerxes may have had alchemy skills and methods that the modern people of Amestris are unable to grasp hold of. Maybe it was a lost skill. It's like how we still have mysteries of people and events of the past. Till now, we dont know how the pyramids were built. Maybe it's something of that sort.

Other than that, all the other sources I've read do not give much information as to who,where or how the first homunculous came to be.

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