Reflections of the Exotic East | China


Dragon

Circa 1925
Made in the United States
IQSCM 1997.007.0225, Ardis and Robert James Collection

 

This quilt’s scaly dragon has feet with five claws, just like the dragon on the Qing Dynasty Imperial flag (below). In Chinese mythology, the dragon is a cosmic force that brings rain, thunder and lightning; thus, dragons traditionally represented the strength and splendor of the Chinese emperor. American popular culture of the early twentieth century commonly featured Chinese imagery—both authentic and exoticized. Images of Chinese dragons were not uncommon in the United States at this time as seen on the brochure for the Chinese Lama Temple at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair (below).

Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Imperial flag, adopted in 1862 (Open Clip Art Library)

Chicago World’s Fair Lama Temple brochure cover

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