• The Arts Society Penang
  • The Arts Society Penang

"The Dragon's Fifth Claw" Signs, Puns and Hidden Meanings in Chinese Ceramics

Thursday 22 November 2018. Perenakan Mansion 36 Church Street George Town. 6.30pm

Nothing in Chinese art is just what it appears to be: five bats are not just bats; bamboo not just bamboo; a peach not merely a peach, nor a vase just a vase. Chinese language allows the same word, or rather, sound (homophones), to several possible meanings, giving rise to verbal-visual puns which elude the non-Chinese speaker. Of China’s many symbols, the most potent is The Dragon. Lars Broholm Tharp will unravel hidden meanings and finish with a one of his most exciting discoveries: a clutch of imperial dragons taken down a peg – how, why and when?


LARS BROHOLM THARP was born on 27th March in Copenhagen, Denmark, and is a British historian. Lars is a ceramics as well as a Hogarth specialist and most of his current talks focus on the European and the East-West China trade and the material world of the 17th and 18th century. He is a regular lecturer and broadcaster and leads occasional tours to China. He read Archaeology at Cambridge, was at Sothebys for sixteen years, and is today London's Foundling Museum's 'Hogarth Ambassador'.  He holds an Honorary Doctorate in Art, is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and sits on the court of The Company of Weavers, London's oldest guild. He has served twice on the Art Fund's Annual Prize to Museums and Galleries. He has presented numerous programmes on TV and radio, he writes on many subjects, is passionate about music and shares Archie (a black Labrador) with his wife and their two grown-up daughters.

We are delighted to welcome Lars back to Penang, two years after he first visited the island in November 2016 to give us our very first lecture. For those of you who missed him the first time,these two great talks are treats not to be missed, and those who have already heard him will definitely not want to miss his return.

Further information can be found on his website  https://www.tharp.co.uk

Registration 6.30pm. Talk starts at approximately 7.15pm

Members RM70

Non-members RM120

Cost includes a glass of wine and tapas