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 8,000

Very elegant, 19th century pear-shaped porcelain bottle decorated with a cobalt blue underglaze painting of a peony in full bloom and a butterfly. In Korea’s traditional culture, flowers and butterflies were among the most popular subjects because of their auspicious meaning. The peony – the "king of flowers" – and the butterfly are considered symbols of prosperity and a state of contentment. Depicted as a pair, the peony and butterfly also symbolize harmony between man and woman, 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. The surface of the bottle is covered with a clear, blue-tinted glaze that has the feel of soft, polished eggshell. The clean silhouette of the bottle and the simple yet subtle design of the underglaze painting reflect the essence of the beauty of Joseon porcelain and its Neo-Confucian-influenced restrained elegance. Compared to other porcelain works of the same period, this is an exceptionally fine example in perfect condition.