Historical period(s)
Ming or Qing dynasty, 17th-18th centuries
H x W x D: 4.1 x 10.1 x 5.8 cm (1 5/8 x 4 x 2 5/16 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), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911)
Provenance research underway.

This jade cup was most likely used to hold water for mixing ink or as a decorative item. The bowl of the vessel is shaped to resemble a lotus leaf. Two archaic-style dragons scamper about on the exterior, while one climbs up toward the rim. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was a common practice to carve three-dimensional animal motifs on the outsides of vessels. Often one animal is depicted peering into the vessel's interior. This decorative scheme was perfected by craft specialists working in the medium of rhinoceros horn, and the popularity of that luxury good may have influenced jade carvers to do the same.

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

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.