Yellow on amber dragon carp
Glass, single overlay snuff bottle of opaque yellow on a translucent amber coloured bottle, carved on each side with a very unusual subject, that of an identical side with a dragon head emerging from the waves with the tail of a fish.
Provenance: Coerwinkel Collection
The large carp was a popular subject due to the symbolism attached to it. The carp leaping the ‘Dragon Gate’ falls (a turbulent stretch on the Yellow River) came to be seen as a metaphor for success in the Imperial examinations in particular and for advancement in general. Only the largest carp were able to succeed in leaping the falls: it was such a challenge that the successful fish came to be metamorphosed into a dragon.