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4. Nine-Dragon Palace Hanging
China
Qing dynasty
silk; brocade
Height - 223.5cm Width - 145cm
Nine-Dragon Palace Hanging
Detail: dragon
This imperial yellow silk brocade is worked with nine dragons in gold metal thread, each chasing a flaming pearl within a celestial landscape of clouds, mountains and waves. The upper frieze, which is also in brocade, has a further three gold dragons against a midnight blue ground. This design traditionally represents the universe, with the dragon’s symbolising the emperor and the rocks and waves’ denoting the earthly world over which he presides. Amid the waves on both sections are four of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism: the rhino horn, the lingzhi fungus, the coral and a sutra.
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