Box with Dragons amid Clouds
Southern Song (1127–1279)–Yuan (1271–1368) dynasty
late 13th–early 14th century
Carved black, red, and yellow lacquer
H. 3 in (7.6 cm); Diam. 9 5/8 in. (24.4 cm)
Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving
The salamander-like dragons that curve along the surface of this box lack the large head, horns, and prominent snout usually found in Chinese depictions of these mythical and auspicious creatures. Seen in bronzes and jades of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, this type is sometimes described as a chi dragon and is among the many kinds of dragons found in Chinese imagery.