Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Yongzheng mark and period (1723–35)
early 18th century
Porcelain painted with copper red under transparent glaze (Jingdezhen ware)
H. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 202
Arguably the most well-known motif in Chinese art, the dragon is a multivalent symbol imbued with many layers of meaning, including protection, happiness, and fertility. In early Chinese art the dragon was understood as a symbol of the cardinal direction east, and it has long been associated with water, particularly lakes and rivers. The dragon also signifies imperial rule, and works decorated with five-clawed dragons are known to have been produced for use at court.
Marking: Yongzheng markKangxi mark (six letters on bottom in underglaze blue)