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
Moonflask with a design on each side of a dragon and a flaming pearl
porcelain with underglaze blue and copper red
30.5 x 26.0 x 12.5 cm
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Chinese porcelain of the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Feb 1977–26 Jun 1977
Dragon (2012), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 18 Jan 2012–06 May 2012
Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–13 Mar 2016
Referenced in 10 publications
Edmund Capon, The Connoisseur, 'Far Eastern Art in the Art Gallery of New South Wales', pg. 22-29, London, May 1980, 28 (illus.).
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.
Jacqueline Menzies, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian', pg. 72-93, Sydney, 1988, 77 (colour illus.).
Richard, Cradles of Civilisation: China, "Ming and Qing Society: China and the West", J. Smith, Norman, Sep 1994, 163 (colour illus.).
Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 139 (colour illus.).
Asian Collection Handbook, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Chinese Porcelain', pg. 30-41, Sydney, 1990, 39 (colour illus.).
Portrait of a Gallery, 'Asian Art', pg. 106-113, Sydney, 1984, 108 (colour illus.).
Chinese porcelain of the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties, Sydney, 1977, 31. cat. no. 59.
The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Marvel of Porcelain', Sydney, 2003, 127 (colour illus.).
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.