Imperial Dragon Dish
Jaijing mark (1522-1566)
Item # CIP-211
Height w/o Lid: 5.08 cm;
Width of mouth: 22.22 cm;
Width of foot: 11.56 cm.
Provenance: Purchased at Hong Kong Auction House in 2003.
Decoration: On Interior, in center, upright Dragon surrounded by meandering Lotus enclosed by double ring, and double ring below lip. On Exterior, two Dragons rampant amongst meandering Lotus, framed above by double line and below by single line at foot joint and double line on foot.
Technique: Motifs and lines painted with Cobalt oxide pigment under transparent glaze.
Mark: Six characters in two columns in double circle on base written with cobalt oxide pigment under transparent glaze.
Condition: Small barely discernible hairline at lower lip.
The Dragon was the ultimate symbol of Chinese Imperial power and authority during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The use and depiction of this emblem of Imperial power was very stringently controlled until the latter years of the Qing Dynasty when it actually became possible to purchase the right to use the five clawed Dragon motif on just about anything.
However, prior to the selling of use licenses for this symbol, the five clawed Dragon was reserved for use by the Emperor and his close family, while Dragons with four claws were reserved for use by lesser nobility and their familys.
1) Larger Example of same plate sold at Sotheby's sale N08342, no. 247.
2) Similar dish slightly larger sold a Sotheby's sale L06211, no.616.