About this artwork
This vessel plays upon a rebus: the words for “butterfly” and “gourd” together allude to the wish for innumerable generations of sons and grandsons. The image of fruit-bearing stems visually reinforces this ideal, which was highly valued in traditional Confucian society. Butterflies with beautifully contoured wings flutter amid red, orange, and pale green gourds, melons, pumpkins, or squash. The lobed fruits are decorative rather than botanically specific; together, they grow from gracefully trailing stems with large palmette leaves and elegantly curled tendrils.
- Covered Box with Butterflies, Gourds, and Scrolling Vines
- Carved cinnabar lacquer on wood
- H. 9.5 cm (3 3/4 in.); diam. 32.4 cm (12 3/4 in.)
- Gift of Mrs. Charles Fabens Kelley in memory of Charles Fabens Kelley