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The Charlotte Rhead Manchu Chinese Dragon Design Price Guide

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The Charlotte Rhead Manchu Chinese Dragon Design is one of the many unique and striking patterns that Charlotte Rhead created. It has a pattern number of 4511 and this particular design features a prominent Chinese dragon motif, inspired by the rich culture and symbolism associated with Chinese mythology. It first came to prominence at the British Industries Fair in 1936. At the time Charlotte Rhead was at the A. G. Richardson factory and the pieces bear the Crown Ducal mak. Manchu dragons are traditional Chinese dragons that were often used as symbols of imperial power and authority. The pattern is not uncommon and pieces can often be found at auction and on ebay. We take a look at some examples along with a realised auction price guide and value guide.

Charlotte Rhead Manchu Dragon pattern charger signed to base
Crown Ducal Charlotte Rhead Manchu Dragon pattern charger, signed to base, approx 32.5cm in diameter. Sold for £140 at Lyme Bay Auctions, November 2021.

The design showcases Rhead’s ability to blend traditional and contemporary styles, creating an appealing aesthetic that has stood the test of time. The Manchu Chinese Dragon Design is green with a brown tail and typically includes intricate details, such as the dragon’s scales and flowing lines that create a sense of movement. The dragon is often surrounded by clouds, flowers, and other elements inspired by Chinese art.

Charlotte Rhead For Crown Ducal Manchu Dragon Vase Shape No 211
Charlotte Rhead For Crown Ducal Manchu Dragon Vase Shape No 211. Sold for £85 on ebay, February 2023.

Rhead’s Manchu Chinese Dragon Design can be found on a variety of ceramic pieces, including plates, vases, chargers, and bowls. These items have become highly sought after by collectors, with some examples fetching considerable sums at auction although prices are down for example chargers which were selling for between £200-£300 ($300-$450) in the mid-2000s now sell for between £100-£150 ($130-$180) depending on condition.

The original design and prototype pieces were green rather than brown and some actually feature tube-lining by Charlotte Rhead herself.

Charlotte Rhead Manchu Dragon pattern charger 1st version in brown
Charlotte Rhead Manchu Dragon pattern charger 1st version in brown. This actual charger sold for £950 at Halls Fine Art Auctioneers, February 2011.

The popularity and success of Rhead’s designs, including the Manchu Chinese Dragon Design, can be attributed to her unique artistic vision and the high level of craftsmanship involved in creating her tube-lined pottery. These pieces continue to be admired and celebrated today for their artistic value and historical significance.

The Manchu Dragon Legend

The Manchu Chinese Dragon legend is an important part of Chinese mythology and folklore, and it has been passed down through generations in various forms. Although there are numerous tales about dragons in Chinese culture, the Manchu dragon holds a special place in the hearts of the Manchu people, who were the ethnic group that established the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China (1644-1912).

Charlotte Rhead Manchu Dragon pattern Ribbed Vase c1936
Charlotte Rhead Manchu Dragon pattern Ribbed Vase c1936. Sold for £70 at Gerrards Auction Rooms, May 2021.

The legend of the Manchu Chinese Dragon revolves around a divine and mythical creature, which embodies the powers of water, weather, and the heavens. In ancient times, the Manchu people believed that dragons were the source of life-giving energy, and they held them in high regard as symbols of power, wisdom, and good fortune. The Manchu dragon is said to have nine sons, each with its unique abilities and characteristics.

One popular legend tells the story of a young Manchu prince named Abahai. The prince had a dream in which a divine dragon appeared to him and granted him supernatural powers to protect his people and expand their territory. Inspired by the dream, Abahai united the Manchu tribes and formed the Later Jin dynasty, which eventually evolved into the Qing dynasty. The Manchu Chinese Dragon thus became a symbol of strength, unity, and imperial authority for the Manchu people.

Crown Ducal Charlotte Rhead Manchu Dragon Vase 173
Crown Ducal Charlotte Rhead Manchu Dragon Vase 173. Sold for £100 on ebay, March 2023.

In another version of the legend, the Manchu dragon is said to be a protector of the Manchu people, who would call upon its powers to bring rain and water to their lands during times of drought. The dragon was believed to have control over the elements and could summon rain, wind, and storms at will. This belief in the dragon’s ability to influence the weather made it an essential symbol of life and prosperity.

The Manchu Chinese Dragon is often depicted as a majestic creature with a serpentine body, scales, and four legs.

It is commonly adorned with elements of nature, such as clouds, water, and fire, symbolizing its connection to the natural world.

The dragon’s form is fluid, emphasizing its ability to adapt and transform. In Manchu art and literature, the dragon is frequently shown with a pearl or orb, which represents its power to control the elements and bring good fortune.

Related
A look at Charlotte Rhead Pottery


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