Designs and images from cave walls, Shang Dynasty bronzes, and relief sculptures are studied in order to gain insight for creating designs on slabs of clay. This lesson provides instruction for creating a slab of clay upon which the children incise images.
Students are taught how to add to the clay slab by scoring the clay and using slip to attach pieces in order to complete their design motif.
Inspiration for the dragon symbolism and history.
20 dragon tiles Shanxi Province, China
Ming dynasty, 15th-16th century
These ceramic tiles once decorated the roof ridges of small buildings in a temple complex in northern China. They were originally arranged into two long rows - one consisting of the yellow dragons and one of the blue. Each frieze today is made up of five tiles, moulded with three-clawed dragons entwined with flower scrolls, including the lotus and the peony.
Dragons are associated with good fortune and with rain and water, so these images offered symbolic protection against fire. (British Museum of Art)