About This Artwork


Amphora with Three Dragon-Shaped Handles, Tang dynasty (618–907), 8th century

Stoneware with yellowish-white glaze
H. 35.9 cm (14 1/8 in.); diam. 18.4 cm (7 1/4 in.)

Dr. Edith B. Farnsworth Collection, 1969.949

The dragon, with a scaly serpentine body, large whiskered head, and feet with sharp claws, is a supernatural creature that represents strength and goodness. The appearance of the dragon is considered a sign of good luck. Early depictions of the dragon are associated with water and rain, and are symbols of fertility and fecundity. The dragon came to represent the emperor, imperial power, and authority.

Interpretive Resources

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