This small and baluster-shaped box & cover with a green dragon, iron red flames, gold rims and knot of 1stchoice couldn’t be more suitable for storing green tea. In fact, “white gold” – its manufacture only known in the Chinese Empire until 1710 – was the preferred material to store the expensive good of tea. I particular, a classic urn shape and the dragon as an outstandingly exotic symbol of the Far East rank among the most popular display vessels.
The obverse is adorned with a so-called Ming dragon in underglaze green. The dragon with four claws and a wild mane was designed after dragon imagery on fine Chinese porcelain from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) at the court of Augustus II. the Strong in Dresden around 1723. The distinctive mythical creature was originally reserved for the princes of the Empire and symbolize supernatural powers and the spirit of change but also the rhythm of nature and the doctrine of becoming. The Ming dragon is shown with his ‘dragon ball’ or ‘flaming pearl’ representing thunder while also the moon as a bearer of rain. The cloud-like flames surround the ball and allude to luck.
The décor itself is executed in eight different colors: black, light blue, green, purple, iron red, magenta, yellow and brown. Here, the Ming dragon décor is offered in underglaze green which had been developed as an underglaze color by the manufactory in 1814.