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Large Dish
Large Dish, Early 17th century
Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration
3 1/4 x 18 inches (8.3 x 45.7 cm)
Purchased with the Joseph E. Temple Fund, 1970
[ More Details ]

Let's Look

  • What words would you use to describe this dragon? Why?
  • Look for parts of nine different animals in the dragon: a camel, horse, deer, cow, snake, clam, fish, tiger, and eagle.
  • What do you see around the dragon?

Let's Look Again

  • What shapes did the artist repeat to make the dragon's long body fit inside the round shape of the plate? What feeling does this give the dragon?
  • What do you think this plate is made of?
  • Does this dragon's personality seem male or female? Or both? Why?


Connect and Compare

  • When Chinese emperors ruled, the number of claws on a dragon indicated a person's rank. Compare this to the system used by the U.S. military (like five-star generals), the Girl Scouts, and other organizations.
  • Research the Chinese influences on the blue-and-white china from Spode, England, decorated with the popular willow pattern.
  • Make a list of all the places you can find the yin-yang symbol.
  • Trace the land routes used by Persian traders to bring cobalt to China. Also trace the routes of Portuguese and Dutch merchants who sailded to China for blue-and-white porcelain.

Related Art Project

Create a Chinese dragon on a round surface, such as paper or clay, that is the same size as the porcelain plate here (18 inches in diameter). Look carefully at the dragons on this plate to see how they are arranged. How will you make your dragon fit into this large, round space? To get started, imagine that a piece of string or yarn is the dragon's body and arrange it in different ways inside the circle. Which animals will make up the different parts of your dragon? What colors will you choose? Where does your dragon live?


For more information, please contact The Division of Education by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .

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