Art

Large, Broad-Shouldered Jar with Decoration of Two Striding Dragons, Each Pursuing a Flaming Jewel

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Large, Broad-Shouldered Jar with Decoration of Two Striding Dragons, Each Pursuing a Flaming Jewel, mid 18th century
Vessel
Korean
,
18th century
Chosôn dynasty, 1392-1910
Creation Place: Korea
Blue-and-white ware: porcelain with decoration painted in underglaze cobalt blue
H. 44.3 x Diam. 35 cm (17 7/16 x 13 3/4 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Marie-Hélène Weill and Claudia Weill Teller
, 2003.291
Description
Large, broad-shouldered, narrow-waisted jars of this type were popular in Korea in the late seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century examples have a short, collarlike neck and an exaggerated profile, with bulging shoulders and a constricted waist; nineteenth-century examples, by contrast, show a more subdued profile but have a tall neck and a beveled foot.

In the East Asian dualistic yin-yang interpretation of the universe, the dragon symbolizes the yang, or male, principle, while the phoenix represents the yin, or female, principle. Associated with water, the auspicious dragon is typically paired with clouds, mist, or rolling waves; the flaming jewel, borrowed from the repertory of Buddhist art, symbolizes transcendent wisdom. The motif here of a dragon chasing a flaming jewel thus symbolizes the pursuit of wisdom.
Bibliography
Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2003-2004, (Cambridge, MA, 2005), p. 21

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 119