Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 17th century
H x W x D: 7.1 x 10.7 x 4.3 cm (2 13/16 x 4 3/16 x 1 11/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jade, Vessel


China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)
Provenance research underway.

Cups with handles in the form of figures or animals were popular in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Two-handled cups possessed ceremonial authority and were used for special occasions. The decoration on this cup appears to celebrate a student's success in passing the national examinations to become a scholar, an event captured on the back of the cup in a metaphoric image of a carp transforming into a dragon. The  youths dressed in flowing scarves and leopard skins who serve as the cup's handles represent immortals; sometimes the difficult feat of succeeding at the examinations was compared to obtaining immortality.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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