Dish showing a dragon chasing the flaming pearl (15cm diameter)
This shallow dish, made from enamelled porcelain,
shows a dragon chasing a flaming pearl.
This beautiful dish shows a dragon chasing a flaming pearl
First let's look at the dragon. In Chinese mythology
the dragon is usually a good and wise figure. They often represent the Emperor, and symbolise success, wealth, power,
bravery and nobility. This dragon has five claws, which
tells us that it was created for an emperor. No one else was allowed to possess a dragon image showing five claws on
pain of death.
On this plate the dragon is chasing a flaming pearl known as the Pearl of
Potentiality - this is quite a popular
design. You can see his eyes, claws and mouth wide open with anticipation as he reaches for the pearl. The pearl can
stand for truth, life or wisdom, and if the dragon loses it he is left helpless and incapable of action. Sometimes the
pearl is under the dragon's chin rather than being
chased through the air as on this plate. It is often seen with something that looks like a root growing from it.
The plate has a six-character mark on the base that tells us it was made in south-central China during the reign of
the Qianlong Emperor during the
Qing dynasty. The dark blue and yellow enamel were often used in this period.
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