Dragon jar


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 233

Porcelain jars painted with cobalt-blue dragons were popular from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century. Many were used as flower vases in official court ceremonies. Originally associated with water, dragons were also imperial emblems throughout East Asia. The two four-clawed dragons chasing flaming jewels on this piece embody the dynamic strength of the mythical beast. At the same time, dragons are seen as auspicious, welcoming creatures; the pair seen here, with their amusing faces, reflects the notion that they are not always to be feared.

Dragon jar, Porcelain with underglaze cobalt-blue design, Korea

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