Important Cultural PropertyEight pointed petal-shaped plate with mother-of-pearl inlay dragon motif

Save Image

image 全画面表示


  • 1 piece
  • Lacquered wood
  • D 33.0H2.3
  • Yuan period/14th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • TH-9

Raden is a technique of decoration used only in East Asia since ancient times. In this technique, the rind of a kind of spiral shell is removed from the shell, polished and used to embellish the wooden, lacquered or metal surfaces of objects such as plates and boxes. The dragon with five claws, the main motif of this piece, is staring at the flaming jewel while opening its mouth wide and twisting its long body. Shell pieces of different colors are used in an amazingly skilful manner to have different effects suited for the various body parts of the dragon, including its shining bluish-white face, red eyeballs, green scales and light crimson dorsal fins. Clouds, haze, waves, rocks and trees are pictured minutely in the background behind the dragon's body. Among them, the waves expressed with the shell pieces as thin as a thread are especially impressive, as they look as if they are splashing, enhancing the dynamic impression of the dragon. The features adopted in this piece, such as the exceptionally thin pieces of shell, the thin base and the shape of the pointed eight-petal flower, which are characteristic of the Yuan period, create a look as graceful as gold and silverwares.