Very late Ming or early Qing (aka Ch’ing) Dynasty kesi – silk – ‘panel fragment’ of exceptional quality made in the 17th century using the hand woven split-tapestry method, and with prolific use of gilt thread throughout. It shows a complete – i.e. no missing appendages – five clawed Imperial ‘running’ dragon (i.e. depicted in profile / side-on) actually clutching the sacred flaming pearl in his claw (whereas often the dragon is shown only grasping at / or for the pearl, not holding it as shown here) amongst clouds high above a rolling sea. Gold encased (gilt) fine silk thread is used extensively throughout the dragons head and body scales, and also in other parts of the fragment to accentuate certain details. All the colours are of course from natural dyes, yet given the fragments age still retain their subtle intensity. It has been very well preserved in the one collectors hands since the early 1970’s and is the first time on the market since then. It is certainly a collectible piece of exquisite beauty and motion.