Identification and Creation
Object Number
Large, Broad-Shouldered Jar with Decoration of Two Striding Dragons, Each Pursuing a Flaming Jewel
Work Type
mid 18th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Korea
Chosŏn dynasty, 1392-1910
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3620, University Study Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
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.)
Marie-Hélène, New York (by 2003), gift; to Harvard University Art Museums, 2003.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Marie-Hélène Weill and Claudia Weill Teller
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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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.
Publication History

Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Annual Report 2003-2004 (Cambridge, MA, 2005), p. 21

Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), p. 119

Exhibition History

Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum, and Bamboo: Botanical Motifs and Symbols in East Asian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 07/06/2002 - 01/05/2003

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/07/2018 - 06/04/2019; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 12/07/2018 - 01/13/2020

Earthly Delights: 6,000 Years of Asian Ceramics, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2022 - 08/14/2022

Subjects and Contexts

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