On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 222

On the walls of this large basin, five spirited dragons—their sinuous bodies carved in high relief—chase two flaming pearls in and out of swirling clouds. A poem by Emperor Qianlong inscribed on the interior floor dates the jade to 1774 and points to Khotan in far northwestern China as the source of this huge boulder. The overall shape and decoration suggest that the basin was inspired by the colossal jade wine container that Khubilai Khan (1215–1294) commissioned in 1265.

Basin, Jade (nephrite), China

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