Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

The Barlow Collection

A select catalogue of the Barlow collection of Chinese Ceramics, Bronzes and Jades by the University of Sussex (published Sussex, 2006).

The Barlow Collection by the University of Sussex

Publications online: 456 objects

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Ritual mirror with two dragons chasing each other

  • loan



  • lacquer

    Chinese and Japanese lacquer is made from the sap of the lacquer tree, which is indigenous to Eastern China. It is applied to wood as a varnish or for decorative effect. In India and the Middle East, lacquer is made from the deposit of the lac insect.


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • The Barlow Collection by the University of Sussex

    The Barlow Collection

    The flat circular mirror has a pierced boss on the back, now fitted with a silk tassel, raised on a circular field and surrounded by two dragons in relief. The dragons are depicted with long snouts, flowing manes and scaly bodies with hooked spine, pursuing each other and emitting flames. The surface was covered with black lacquer, now largely degraded, which was inlaid in mother-of-pearl with small circular pieces around the boss, and flowering pomegranate around the rim, with four sections separated by small dots. The shell shows incised details and is mostly preserved. The reflecting side of the mirror now partly covered by green patina. The two dragons have in modern times been overpainted in gold and silver, respectively.

Object information may not accurately reflect the actual contents of the original publication, since our online objects contain current information held in our collections database. Click on 'buy this publication' to purchase printed versions of our online publications, where available, or contact the Jameel Study Centre to arrange access to books on our collections that are now out of print.

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