Bottle with Peony and Butterfly

Joseon Dynasty, 19th Century

Inv. Nr. #18.014
Date Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), approx. 1800-1900
Material Porcelain with cobalt blue underglaze
Dimensions H 26  x D 16 cm

19th century pear-shaped porcelain wine bottle with cobalt blue underglaze painting of a peony and a butterfly.

In Korea’s traditional culture flowers and butterflies have been among the most popular subjects. The peony - the "king of flowers" - and the butterfly are regarded as a symbol of prosperity and a state of contentment. Beyond that, as a pair they are symbolizing the harmony between husband and wife and therefor a symbol for the strong bond of the family unit.

Of compressed globular form, resting on a short circular foot with tapering, cylindrical neck, the vessel also applied with a blue-tinged very soft clear glaze that feels like a very soft, polished eggshell. The bottle’s clean silhouette and its simple yet subtle design of the underglaze painting are reflecting the essence of the Joseon porcelain's beauty of neo-confucian influenced restrained elegance.