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Image of Panel (with phoenix above dragon)

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Panel (with phoenix above dragon)

Creation date: 18th century-19th century
Creation place: China

Other Information

Type: Satin Hanging
Medium and Support: Silk
Credit Line: Bequest of Elsie S. Kimberly
Accession Number: 1966.159
Dimensions: 63 1/2 in. x 24 1/2 in. (161.29 cm x 62.23 cm)


Elsie Stewart Kimberly, Coronado, California ( - 1966)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (1966 - )

Label Copy

August 2008
Asian Court Rotation
The depiction of the dragon and the phoenix on this panel indicates it was likely a wedding gift, for the two mythic animals in union is a symbol for marital bliss. An additional dimension of auspicious symbolism is seen in the pairing of the phoenix, the king of birds, with the peony, the king of flowers—which together means “may there be wealth, rank, and good fortune.” The exceptional quality of the embroidery further suggests that this panel either belonged to or was gifted to someone of high rank. This panel includes many symbolic motifs. The nine objects above the phoenix collectively represent bogu, or “hundred antiquities”—a set of items that indicate refinement and sophistication. In addition, there are a set of “precious collectables,” including a ding (a bronze tripod vessel for ritual use) and books, referring to scholarly pursuits. The Buddha's hand citron—named for the fruit's resemblance to Buddha's fingers—conveys blessings for longevity.
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