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Dish Depicting a Dragon Amongst Foliage

Asian Art

The elaborate carving on this circular dish extends through the red outer layer to a yellowish ground. The auspicious dragon at the center appears with a vaporous shou longevity character leaping from its jaws. These motifs and the complex technique demonstrate imperial taste of the early Ming dynasty; there is an imperial reign mark carved in a line In the middle of the red-lacquered base and infilled with gold. Dragons depicted on imperial wares always represented with five claws. On this dish, however, the fifth claw on each foot was later removed. Perhaps the dish was given to an official outside the imperial court.

MEDIUM Carved cinnabar lacquer on wood
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES 1522-1566
    DYNASTY Ming Dynasty
    PERIOD Jiajing Period
    DIMENSIONS diameter: 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Patricia Falk, from the Collection of Pauline B. and Myron S. Falk, Jr.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Dish Depicting a Dragon Amongst Foliage, 1522-1566. Carved cinnabar lacquer on wood, diameter: 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Patricia Falk, from the Collection of Pauline B. and Myron S. Falk, Jr., 2003.30. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2003.30_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 2003.30_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Low dish in red and yellow lacquer, carved with a decoration of a lung dragon cavorting amid clouds and lotus flowers, auspicious symbols of purity and fruitfulness, over a lower border of waves and mountains. One of the claws on each foot of the lung has been scraped away, probably to hide the fact that this plate was originally intended for imperial use. The rim of the plate contains the pa pao, or Eight Precious Things. On the base is the reign mark of the Jiajing emperor, incised into the lacquer and then painted in gold.
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