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An ovoid-shaped Chinese Ming period porcelain jar painted in rich blue around the sides with two five-clawed dragons among clouds and with rocks and waves below. Round the shoulder a stylised shou (long life character) seems to grow out of the lotus scrol

Extraordinary Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Royal Collection

Japan [Asia]

Chest early seventeenth century

RCIN 39244

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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Furniture decorated with lacquer was collected in Europe from the early seventeenth century onwards, much of it with inlays of mother-of-pearl and painted gilt decoration. On this chest the exquisite mother-of-pearl design includes a chrysanthemum bloom and yin and yang symbols. Imports of lacquer tableware, vases and jars had become more numerous in the eighteenth century and were especially collected in France. Following the Revolution and the sale of French aristocratic property, George IV (1762–1830) was able to acquire many more pieces like this from Paris for display at Carlton House and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.