Turquoise Porcelain Butterfly Platter
As early as the 16th century, Chinese porcelain was being created for the European market. Often these pieces took forms that would be familiar to western customers but were embellished with "exotic" Asian motifs. Here, a field of brilliant turquoise porcelain is decorated with blossoms and butterflies, a traditional symbol of summer and of joy.
A Taoist parable also illustrates how the butterfly is sometimes considered a matchmaker. The story goes that a young man accidentally followed a butterfly into the private garden of an emperor's daughter and became so taken with her that he dedicated his life to working hard and improving his rank so that he may deserve her hand in marriage. In this he was successful, and credited the butterfly with giving him inspiration.
The original 19th century jar from which our platter is adapted is decorated in what is called a
palette of glazes. For the first time, it was possible to achieve opaque colors, particularly various shades of red and pink.
Includes its own wooden display stand. For decorative use only; not food safe. 14 1/4" diam. x 2 1/2"H
Plum Blossom Teapot
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Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts 01970