Very late Ming or early Qing (aka Ch’ing) Dynasty kesi – silk – panel ‘fragment’ of exceptional quality made in China at some time in the 1600’s / 17th century (or so it was appraised, as this is not our area of expertise) using the hand woven slit-weave-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. The main image at top left shows both the back and front side of the piece. The comparison photo with the black ‘frame’ directly beneath shows a close-up enlargement of the threads in a minuscule 13mm x 13mm (1/2in x 1/2in) square area of exactly where the black arrow points to on the front of the piece. The lower ‘bordered’ image center column is of the same general facial area only larger in size, while the ‘bordered’ image bottom of the far right column is of another area (claws around blue pearl); both images being only 26mm x 26mm (approximately 1 square inch) of fabric. The fragment 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 presently remains unframed after recent photography, but whatever one chooses to do with it, whether display it as is or have re-framed as the last image comparison example shows, it is certainly a very collectable piece of exquisite beauty and motion.