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Jason Sowing the Dragon's Teeth

Accession Number
1978/2.38

Title
Jason Sowing the Dragon's Teeth

Artist(s)

Object Creation Date
1557-1600

Medium & Support
tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica) with underglaze painting

Dimensions
3 ⅛ in x 17 ⅜ in x 17 ⅜ in (7.94 cm x 44.13 cm x 44.13 cm);3 ⅛ in x 17 ⅜ in x 17 ⅜ in (7.94 cm x 44.13 cm x 44.13 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Cecile L. Fusfeld

Label copy
March 28, 2009
This dish is decorated with a scene from the Classical myth of Jason and the quest for the Golden Fleece. The king of Colchis gives Jason a seemingly impossible three-part task: he must tame and plow a field with two fire-breathing oxen (depicted on the hill in the right background), plant the teeth of a fearsome dragon (also at right), and defeat the army of warriors that sprout from the dragon’s teeth.
The title refers to the action that preceded the battle depicted, which arose when Jason threw a stone in the midst of the soldiers. Unable to decipher where the rock came from, the soldiers attacked one another, leaving Jason (in the left foreground) to easily defeat the exhausted survivors and obtain the Golden Fleece.

Subject matter
A group of armed men struggles in a landscape while a helmeted female figure hovers on a cloud above them and points to a distant city that lies across an expanse of water. A man at the left with a green cuirass and cloth knotted about his waist and neck stands apart from the combatants and looks up toward the gesturing woman. Behind him appears a row of sword-wielding men locked in combat, with several casualties lying at their feet. On a hillock in the background a pair of oxen, an orange-gold colored sheep, and a winged dragon may be discerned.

Physical Description
A group of armed men struggles in a landscape while a helmeted female figure hovers on a cloud above them and points to a distant city that lies across an expanse of water. A man at the left with a green cuirass and cloth knotted about his waist and neck stands apart from the combatants and looks up toward the gesturing woman. Behind him appears a row of sword-wielding men locked in combat, with several casualties lying at their feet. On a hillock in the background a pair of oxen, an orange-gold colored sheep, and a winged dragon may be discerned.

Primary Object Classification
Ceramic

Primary Object Type
dish

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
battles
dragons
literary theory
maiolica
oxen

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& Author Notes

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