Detail PIRING PORCELEN NAGA CHINA ANTIK/LIONG PLATE PORCELEN FROM CHINA RETAK 1000
DRAGON ANTIQUE PORSELEN FROM CHINNA IN BEFORE DYNASTI MING
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DIAMETER : 40CM
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A Chinese dragon is a composite beast. It is said to have the form of a snake but with the scales of a carp. It has deer antlers and a whale’s tail; the feet are of a tiger with an eagle’s talons. A dragon’s face comes from a camel while the ears are derived from a bull and the eyes from a lobster. Though Chinese dragons do not have wings they do fly and are thought to make their home in the clouds, inside mountains and under the sea.
While dragons are symbols of power, they are never seen as frightful or evil in China. Eastern dragons are an overwhelming force for good and their depiction in Asian arts is intended as good omens and sources of prosperity and good fortune.
Our blue and white dragon tray is a classic “double dragon” design. The two facing dragons represent “a happy reunion.” Courtly garments from the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911) often incorporated the same double dragon motif in silk embroidery. The motif can also be used for family ties or to show strong friendship.
The tray also includes a pearl painted at the center of the two dragons. Pearls are associated with wealth, luck, prosperity and sometimes wisdom. Often Chinese dragons are depicted with a flaming pearl clutched in their claw or under their chin. Artistically it is both a potent symbol of a dragon’s power as well as a play on simple monetary value. The flaming pearl in particular is one of the eight sacred treasures from Buddhist and Taoist traditions and it is said to have the power to grant wishes.
In ancient times, well before pearl farming or cultivating, the precious commodity was rare to an extreme. Quite simply any one who found a pearl also found a great personal fortune. Thus the folkloric attribution of a wish granting power to pearls. Cultures throughout the Orient consider the pearl as a jewel to fulfill all wishes. Buddhists consider the pearl one of their divine seven treasures. In Korea it is believed that the yellow (King) dragon dons a pear-shaped pearl on his forehead, which has supernatural healing powers.
Surrounding the dragons on our tray are an assortment of traditionally stylized clouds. Dragons and clouds have a close association in China because they are intertwined in the bringing of rain. Rain leads to crop growth and finally harvest, which is the ultimate in agrarian prosperity. There is also a hierarchal pun as well as a linguistic pun behind the use of clouds as auspicious symbols. A cloud is literally high up in the sky, so they are considerer an emblem of high rank, many courtly robes are embroidered with cloud designs. Also the word for “cloud” in Chinese has a pronunciation that is close to the word for “fortune,” thus clouds are used as an embellishment in Chinese arts to add a sense of importance to a design.
Our simple tray is full of expressive imagery when you know where to look. Even the shape is intended to evoke the shape of a cloud, further enhancing its good luck power. It is made of porcelain with blue cobalt oxide under glaze and a clear glossy over glaze. It is a fine example of Chinese porcelain based on the centuries of production that began with the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644). Because porcelain is a dense stoneware it is naturally dishwasher and microwave safe.