The Chinese perfected the cloisonné enamel technique in the fifteenth century. By the time this jar was made it was considered appropriate for imperial use, and many superb pieces were made for palaces and temples. Some of the vessel forms were borrowed from ancient Chinese bronzes. Other shapes, and some of the motifs, resemble contemporary porcelains.

The inscription on the neck of the jar shows that it was made under the auspices of the Yuyongjian, a division of the Imperial Household. The vigorous dragon among clouds parallels the decoration on blue-and-white porcelain of the period. The six-character mark in champlevé enamel is typical of the Xuande style.


  • Title: Cloisonné jar
  • Date Created: 1426/1435
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 17.06in (without lid); Diameter: 55.90cm; Height: 62.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: cloisonn
  • Subject: dragon
  • Registration number: 1957,0501.1
  • Production place: Made in China
  • Place: Found/Acquired China
  • Period/culture: Ming dynasty; Xuande
  • Material: metal; enamel
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Riesco, R F A. Purchased from Montague Marcussor

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