With the King Sculpture Court ceiling currently undergoingconservation, all works normally on view have been moved to storage. Sadly, this includes our Japanese Coiling Dragon, easily one of the most popular works on view. So, we thought it would make a fitting subject for our first-ever gif! What do you think?
Japanese dragons, like other dragons, are fearsome and powerful creatures. However, they are also considered to be just and benevolent, often bringing wealth and good fortune to those who see them. Dragons also serve as water deities in Japan and are associated with rainfall and bodies of water. Fittingly, the coiling dragon here served as a fountain out in the museum’s courtyard for a number of years. For its original function, an incense basin rested on a stylized plume of water spouting from the dragon’s mouth.
Image: Japanese Coiling Dragon, Meiji period, late 19th century Bronze Gift of Charles F. Olney, 1904.723