Mystic Caravan of Dragon’s Well

Media - 2000.82A-J - SAAM-2000.82A-J_1 - 49155
Copied Red Weldon Sandlin, Mystic Caravan of Dragon's Well, 2000, glazed clay, wood, and acrylic paint, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Ann and Tom Cousins, 2000.82A-J

Artwork Details

Mystic Caravan of Dragon’s Well
2310 789 12 in. (58.427.624.1 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Ann and Tom Cousins
Mediums Description
glazed clay, wood, and acrylic paint
  • Fantasy — animal — turtle
  • Object — written matter — book
  • Fantasy — animal — frog
  • Fantasy — fairy
  • Chinese
  • Fantasy — animal — bird
  • Travel — land
Object Number

Artwork Description

This was the first sculpture that Red Weldon Sandlin made in 2000, the Chinese year of the dragon. It was inspired by a Chinese children's book titled Mystic Caravan of Dragon's Well. The book and Sandlin's teapot are named after a town in Zhejiang Province called Dragon's Well, which is famous for its green tea of the same name. Sandlin bases many of her pieces on books and teapots, objects that she thinks represent important ideas of containment. They become, according to the artist, "symbols of information, informed truths, childhood experiences . . ." ("Once Upon a Teapot," Ferrin Gallery Web site). She incorporated two actual teapots into this sculpture: The turtle forms one pot, with the first branch as its spout and the lizard as a lid, while the frog forms another, with a removable head and a dragon puppet for a spout. Sandlin researches a wide variety of subjects for each of her whimsical sculptures, and in this piece the dragon pattern on the frog's costume came from an illustration in a book on Chinese dress.

Luce Object Quote
"The book . . . reveals wonderful worlds . . . My objective is to evoke the viewer's memories of those stories . . . an invitation back to the age of wonder . . . to be curious to discover what makes it a teapot . . . be amazed that it actually functions." Artist's statement