Dog Cage (Goulong)
, 18th or 19th century
Brass with cloisonné enamel and gilt decoration; jade rings
45 1/2 x 32 x 24 3/4 inches (115.6 x 81.3 x 62.9 cm)
Gift of the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1964
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- What is this?
- How was this object used?
- What are the wheels for?
- What colors are most prominent?
- Would this object have been expensive to
How can you tell?
Art Activity: A House for a Favored Pet
This cage housed a royal dog of some sort, but it also expressed the lavish lifestyle of the owner. Have students create their own elaborate house for a favorite stuffed animal. Cut windows or bars in decorative patterns on the sides of a shoe box, and create a door on one end. Use sticks, chopsticks, or Popsicle sticks to build an openwork roof structure. Paint the box and roof and then add accents or texture with metallic markers and found objects, such as buttons, bottle caps, sequins, or seashells. Display these cages in your classroom.
Research Project: People and Pets
The Chinese Empress Dowager of the
Qing dynasty kept many dogs as pets.
She took daily walks with her two
favorites, a Pekingese pug and a terrier,
and taught them tricks. People all over
the world raise pets. We know from
paintings in ancient Egyptian tombs that
people kept cats as pets. Tomb sculptures
from Tang dynasty China feature domesticated
dogs. Research the history of animals
and people living together in domestic
settings. What other ancient cultures have
kept animals as pets?
Group Activity: Animals as
In Chinese art, animals and plants often
have symbolic meanings. The dragons
decorating the surface of this dog cage
are considered powerful mythical creatures
that bring good fortune. Divide students
into small groups to research other
animals or mythological creatures and
their symbolic meanings, both in Chinese
culture and elsewhere. For example, in
Chinese folklore, the tortoise represents
longevity. What does an eagle symbolize
to Americans? Why are sports teams
named after animals? Have each group
identify at least two to four animals or
creatures and report on their symbolic
meanings. Gather these reports into a
class book to share with others.