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Cloisonné jar
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In Chinese art the dragon has a long snake-like body and, unlike dragons in European cultures, is seen as auspicious, not evil. Dragons were particularly associated with imperial power and authority. Imperial dragons, such as the dragon on this bronze jar, are often yellow or golden coloured and always have five claws.

This jar is decorated with the cloisonné enamel technique. First an object is cast in copper, in this case a lidded jar. Then the outline of the pattern is created with copper wires welded to the surface. Finally these cells are filled with coloured glass and the vessel heated until the glass melts and sets.

By the time this jar was made, cloisonné was considered appropriate for imperial use, and many superb pieces were made for palaces and temples. The inscription on the neck of the jar shows that it was made under the auspies of the Yuyongjian, a division of the Imperial household.

Cloisonné jar

From China, Ming dynasty, Xuande period (AD 1426-35).
Ht. 62 cm.

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