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Asian art

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Moonflask with design of dragon, clouds and waves



Jingdezhen ware



A red front-facing dragon ascends from ocean waves, surrounded by scrolling clouds appearing like tongues of flame. Scrolling clouds are also shown emanating from the body of a dragon and from the pearl he chases. Clouds are among the earliest and continuously invoked auspicious symbols in Chinese art. The mystical 'cloud force' was believed to be a vehicle of the immortals. The benevolent rain-bearing dragon represents the authority and power of the imperial throne; the clouds and the waves symbolise two basic elements of the universe.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, January 2012


Other Title

Moonflask with a design on each side of a dragon and a flaming pearl

Place where the work was made

Jingdezhen Jiangxi Province China



Media category


Materials used

porcelain with underglaze blue and copper red


30.5 x 26.0 x 12.5 cm


Purchased 1964


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Jingdezhen ware

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 139 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon AM, OBE and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'Asian Art', pg. 106-113, Sydney, 1984, 108 (colour illus.).

Edmund Capon, The Connoisseur, 'Far Eastern Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 22-29, London, May 1980, 28 (illus.).

J. Hepburn Myrtle, Chinese porcelain of the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties, Sydney, 1977, 31. cat. no. 59.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 258 (colour illus.). See Further Information for text.

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Marvel of Porcelain', Sydney, 2003, 127 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies and Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Chinese Porcelain', pg. 30-41, Sydney, 1990, 39 (colour illus.).

Jacqueline Menzies, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian', pg. 72-93, Sydney, 1988, 77 (colour illus.).

Public Programmes Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Adventures in Asia. An education kit for the Asian gallery, Sydney, 2003, cover (colour illus.), 5 (colour illus.). card no. 5; the colour illus. on cover is a detail of this work.

Richard, Cradles of Civilisation: China, "Ming and Qing Society: China and the West", J. Smith, Norman, Sep 1994, 163 (colour illus.).