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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
Han Dynasty Bronzes
Early Chinese Ceramics
Sculpture from Tombs
Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
Tang and Liao Dynasty Metalwork
Ceramics of the Song and Jin Periods
Porcelains of the Yuan and Early Ming Periods
Imperial Chinese Ceramics of the 15th Century
Ceramics of the Late Ming Period
Qing Dynasty Porcelain
Landscape Painting in China
Jade and Lacquer in China
China, Jiangxi Province; Ming period (1368-1644), Chenghua era, 1465 - 1487
Porcelain painted with underglaze cobalt blue (Jingdezhen ware)
H. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm); D. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The rare motif of a flying-fish dragon (feiyu) on this small jar marked with a six-character Chenghua mark has been interpreted as a reference to China's position as the world's most important seafaring empire in the 15th century. Identified by his wings, fins, and fishtail, this creature has been associated with the legend of the wondrous fish-dragon who saved a drowning Tang-period scholar and bore him to the heavens for rebirth as the chief star of the Big Dipper. The image has also been linked to some type of religious practice. The shape of the jar also distinguishes it from the majority of others made during the period. It is one of a small group of jars characterized by the distinctive treatment of their bases and foot rims: on all of these pieces, the underside has been cut into small steps leading from the edge of the foot ring to the center of the base. The reasons for this unique form remain unclear.
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