Dish with foliate flaring rim, 1426-1435, Ming dynasty, Xuande reign. Porcelain with cobalt pigment under colorless glaze. H: 4.8 W: 21.3 cm. Jingdezhen, China. Purchase F1951.13. Freer/Sackler © 2014 Smithsonian Institution

Writers and painters washed their brushes in bowls like this. The ten-lobed, foliate shape was created by using a mold. Inside the bowl, a single dragon gambols through clouds. On the exterior, ten circular motifs, each consisting of a small dragon and clouds, appear; the depiction of the dragons alternates between showing them in ascent or descent. An imperial reign mark written in cobalt appears on the base of the dish.