carved in the form of a circular disc representing the sun rising above the undulated waves carved in high relief on both sides, a five-clawed dragon ascending from below towards the swirling clouds, the stone of pale yellow tone with russet mottling, fitted stand
The present piece is remarkable for its skilful manipulation of the original shape and natural inclusions of the stone to create a dynamic and unique carving, and no other related example appears to have been published. A bi-disc decorated with a man and a dragon amongst clouds and waves, in the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, was included in the exhibition Chinese Jade. Stone for the Emperors, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, 1986, cat. no. 78; and a carving of a dragon rising over waves, in the Art Museum of San Francisco, is published in Rene-Yvon Lefebvre d'Argence, Chinese Jades in the Avery Brundage Collection, San Francisco, 1977, pl. LXXII, where the author notes that the sun, moon and flaming pearl appear to be symbolic of the changing nature of dragons and, ultimately, life.
Dragons were frequently chosen as central motifs for the ornamentation of objects destined to court officials, and the present depiction appears to be an interpretation of a carp that has turned into a dragon at the Longmen (Dragon Gate) Falls. This episode represents a student becoming a court official after successfully completing the imperial examinations.
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