Description This saucer shaped plate is decorated in underglaze cobalt blue on white porcelain. In the center, a dragon emerges from the waves with flaming shoulders and flanks as two fish (one a carp) swim in the spiraling waves. What may be depicted in this scene is the metamorphosis of the "Fish Dragon", an allegory for a scholar's success at state competitive examinations. Curled crests of waves dotted with foam encircle the border of the plate while the underside is ornamented with six emblems tied with fillets – they include a couple of books, a round jewel, a diamond, an umbrella, a conch shell, and a palm leaf. The painting style resembles that of paint on paper, using the outline and wash technique with varied shades of cobalt blue adding dynamism and dimensionality to the waves and the scaly bodies of the fish and dragon.
- Imagining China: The View from England, 1550-1700. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington. 2009-2010.
Provenance William T. Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; inherited by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Inscriptions spurious reign mark of Chenghua (1464-1487)
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters
Download Image Add to Collection Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Creative Commons License