This Worcester Porcelain tureen is remarkable and rare because of its huge size. It was made at the very beginning of porcelain making in England when they were just learning how to make and fire large objects. It shows how the English factories were inspired by the porcelain of the Far East which was regarded as a mysterious and magical material.
Although the form and surface moulding follow English silver, the handle in the shape of a dragon-fish derives from China. There, a legend tells how each year golden carp swin upriver and leap up the Dragon Falls. Those that succeed in reaching the top are transformed into dragons and fly away, so the motif is a metaphor for success. The handles also are in the form of a magic fungus that was said to grow in the gardens of the Royal Mother of the West, and to bestow immortality. More eastern influence is seen in the underglaze-blue painted decoration that shows figures and flower sprays common on Chinese Porcelain.