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Art Price Index: From China to the West, Auctions Celebrate the Year of the Dragon

Published on , by Anne Doridou-Heim

The dragon has long been a theme in art, and bidders often pursue the creature like a sacred pearl in the clouds.

China, Qing dynasty, Jiaqing period (1796-1820). Imperial double-flask porcelain... Art Price Index: From China to the West, Auctions Celebrate the Year of the Dragon

China, Qing dynasty, Jiaqing period (1796-1820). Imperial double-flask porcelain vase decorated with cobalt blue enamel, Jiaqing mark on the back, h. 31.5 cm/12.40 in. Paris, Hôtel Drouot, April 22, 2022. Gros & Delettrez OVV. Cabinet Ansas, Papillon & de Léry. Result: €780,000

Last autumn’s “ f antastic Animals” show at the Louvre-Lens probed the origins of terrifying yet fascinating hybrid creatures. Dragons played the leading role and had their own room. They have appeared in every civilization and survived since 4,000 BCE, which commands a certain amount of respect. In Chinese astrology, the dragon is the ultimate sign of power and a symbol of fertility. Since 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, Asia is even expecting a baby boom. So, it is time to take a look at this fabulous monster, which brings luck in the East but symbolizes evil in the West. A Benevolent Symbol in China “Myths, legends, symbols: the Chinese world is home to countless varieties of dragons,” wrote Michel Maucuer when he was head curator at the musée Cernuschi . Nobody knows for sure how the chimeric creature was born, but recent archeological finds reveal that the earliest depictions date back to the fourth millennium BCE in Asia. They already had a wide variety of forms and names. They could be long, black, white or red, fly, come from the sea or dwell underground. Their incredible power of metamorphosis allowed them to transcend beliefs and rule every realm, to the point of becoming the symbol of the emperor. In the third century BCE, Liu Bang, founder of the Han dynasty, proclaimed that he was descended from a dragon. The prices of Chinese porcelains made for the court of Hue have been soaring for years. From…
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