Tag Archives: dragons in Chinese art and Mahjong

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mm coronet dragons

Yesterday we touched upon reasons Mahjong sets become objects of desire. For many collectors, these dragons made by the Coronet Company, are the selling points. Who can resist these smoke blowing creatures?

mm lucite dragons 2

These Dragons above, from an unknown manufacturer, have many of the features we have seen before, including horns and whiskers. Interestingly, the White Dragon is not a Dragon at all but  a snake, one of the five poisonous creatures, often embroidered on children's clothing to ward off venomous dangers! The White Dragon appears a bit like some of the very elongated dragons we have seen before. The two Dragons have four toes, so these dragons were allowed to be used by low ranking officials. (Welch)

MM lucite dragons 1

This Cardinal Company pair above has a red elongated Dragon as the Red, and the more squat Green one, very similar to that of the Royal Depth Control Dragon, seen below.

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But look at these last two Green Dragons, they aren't like any dragons we have seen before! Why? We have yet to see a dragon with wings!! This must have been an attempt to appeal to the Western market, and was a real departure from Chinese dragons.

lucas col dirasianart ints of austra

To refresh what Chinese dragons look like, we have a porcelain from the Lucas Collection ( as far as I can gather Lucas was the Director of the Asian Art Institute in Australia. ) Note the absence of wings on the dragon.

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To end this post, look carefully at this screenshot of a photograph of a Dragon in China. More information and leads will be forthcoming, in a few days.

Mahjong tiles courtesy of Mahjongmahjong.


In Mahjong, as in Chinese art, dragons are depicted in different positions. In this post we will see them upright, from the side.

Many Mahjong companies gave a lot of attention to the designs of their dragons. Sometimes the creatures are so wonderful they become the reasons sets are bought.

DSC_0718 dragons

The designs seen above certainly could have been why the above set, believed to be made of casein by the Waterbury Button Company,  would have been sought after. The Dragons have five toes, putting them in the category of dragons associated with the top ranks of officials in ranks one to three, and the royal family, according to Patricia Bjaaland Welch.

Pung Chow, which made sets of pyralin,  prided itself on its Dragons

DSC_0693 pung chow dragons

and billed itself as the set with the Real Dragons. I think it is impossible to tell how many claws these have.

A version of this type of dragon can be seen below, on a screen being offered for sale by Holly Auctions.


And below there's a closeup of the terrific dragon head



The platter below, auctioned off at Sothebys,  has another fabulous upright dragon.


This porcelain dates from the Kangxi period, which lated from 1654 until 1722. You'll notice the center dragon and the dragons around the side too. The rounded images surrounding him are clouds.

Upright dragons also appeared on wood tiles.


Don't forget this one by the Murok Company in Canada!