Jan. Lobby Painting- Five-Clawed Dragon

You can see the original of this embroidery on fabric,

Five-Clawed Dragon From the Ming Dynasty at

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan!


This dragon is embroidery (sewing) on fabric.  It was worn on a Ming emperor’s tunic and showcases the liveliness of 14th century Chinese art.  The embroidery has rich detail, vibrant colors, and a lot of movement.  The dragon was a symbol of luck and wealth and was a symbol of the emperor.

The two dominant elements of art are color and line.  We can see a multicolored dragon that stands against a gold-thread background.  There are curved lines in this circular image but no straight lines.

The three main principles of design used by the artist are contrast, emphasis, and composition.  There is a contrast around the dragon’s head and feet.  There is a strong emphasis on the dragon.  The dragon occupies a key position on the space.  The entire piece is a circular composition which highlights the importance of the dragon.

About the Ming Dynasty

During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Chinese art was distinct in theme and color.  The Ming rulers were powerful and encouraged their artists to use more color and line in their designs.  Dragons have been used as a common subject in Chinese art for 5,ooo years.  The Chinese consider this mythological creature a friend of mankind, symbolizing rain and bountiful harvests.  The dragon has magical powers and may appear in lakes, fog, clouds, and the ocean.  Dragons were also common subjects in ceramics, lacquer ware, paintings, and in decorating temples and palaces.