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Dragon Jar
Dragon Jar, 17th century
Porcelain with underglaze iron oxide decoration
13 3/8 x 12 5/8 inches (34 x 32.1 cm)
Purchased with the Hollis Family Foundation Fund in honor of Colonel Stephen McCormick, 2002
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Looking Questions

  • What creature did the artist paint on this jar?
  • How would you describe the dragon's face?
  • Is it frightening or friendly?
  • Can you follow the dragon's tail as it wraps around the vase?
  • Can you find shapes that look like clouds or water?
  • Was this dragon painted quickly or slowly?
  • This jar is said to have a "full moon" shape. Why?

Art Activity: 3-D Dragons

Dragons in Asian art are distinguished by their long, snakelike body, which can fly through the air, swim in the ocean, and walk on tiny feet on land. There are many descriptions of what dragons look like. One says that dragons have the neck of a snake, the head of a camel, the ears of a cow, the mane of a horse, the horns of a deer, the belly of a clam, the scales of a fish, the paws of a tiger, and the claws of an eagle! Have students crumple craft paper or thick wrapping paper to create long, snakelike bodies for their dragons. Heads and legs can be cut from other paper and attached to each dragon’s body. A variety of materials, like buttons, strings, or aluminum foil, can be used to decorate and add details. Add dashes of paint or color to create texture, then suspend each dragon from the ceiling, where they can look down and protect the classroom.

Group Activity: Dragon Tales

In Korea, dragons are symbols of good luck and are thought to bring good fortune to those they favor. Dragons have captured the imaginations of many cultures across the globe. Go to the library or search the Internet for stories about dragons from Asia and from Europe. What is the same about these stories? What is different? Read dragon tales to each other.

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