Gem-inlaid lidded gold kettle with dragon pattern

Ming Dynasty
Height: 19.4 cm, Rim Diameter: 4.4 cm, Bottom Diameter: 5.3 cm
Unearthed from the tomb of Wan Tong in Nanyuan outside the Yongdingmen Gate in Beijing

This kettle has a flaring mouth, a narrow neck, a bulging belly, a ring foot, a spout and a handle on the opposite sides, and a lid linking the handle with a chain. The lid, the neck and near the bottom are adorned with engraved patterns of plantain leaves, scrolls, clouds and lotus petals. There are two four-clawed winged dragons enclosed by flames on both sides of the belly. The lid, the spout and the handle are inlaid with twenty-seven rubies and sapphires, some of which have fallen off. Wan Tong was Wan Gui’s son and the younger brother of Concubine Wan of Emperor Xianzong. He was born in 1439 in the reign of Zhengtong and died in 1482 in the reign of Chenghua.