A five-dragon kossu
Wan Li period, 1573-1619 AD, Ming Dynasty, China
明萬曆 1573-1619 中國
Height: 2.59m, 8.5 feet
Width: 2 m 07 cm, 6.8 feet
The large silk textile depicts a central dragon that faces the viewer directly. It is flanked, above and below, by four other dragons shown from the side; each confronts its own flaming pearl and is set amongst clouds - all against an orange red ground, with rocks and crashing waves below. Above the dragons, a border of stylised leaves divides this scene from the upper part of the kossu, where two phoenix birds face one another - their feathers streaming behind.