Bottle with Peony and Butterfly

Joseon Dynasty, 19th Century

Inv. Nr. #18.014
Date Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), 19th Century
Material Porcelain with cobalt blue underglaze
Dimensions H 26  x Diam. 16 cm

Price: EUR 18,000

Very elegant, 19th-century pear-shaped porcelain bottle decorated with a cobalt blue underglaze painting of a flowering peony and a butterfly. In Korea’s traditional culture, flowers and butterflies have been among the most popular subjects due to its auspicious meaning. The peony – the "king of flowers" – and the butterfly are regarded as a symbol of prosperity and a state of contentment. Depicted as a pair, the peony and butterfly also symbolize harmony between husband and wife, making them an allegory of the strong, harmonious bond of the family unit.


The bottle has a very clear shape of a compressed globular form, resting on a short circular foot with tapering, and a long cylindrical neck. On the vessel's surface, a blue-tinged clear glaze has been applied that feels like 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 and its Neo-Confucian-influenced restrained elegance. Compared to other porcelain works from the same period, this is an outstandingly fine example in perfect condition.