Antique set of twelve Chinese pith paintings depicting butterflies

GBP 15,000.00

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Object Description

Antique set of twelve Chinese pith paintings depicting butterflies
Chinese, 19th Century
Panel: Height 19cm, width 28cm
Frame: Height 35cm, width 34cm, depth 1.5cm

This superb set of twelve watercolour paintings depicts various insects. Elaborately patterned and rendered in bright shades, each painting has a different composition of insect subjects. Whilst butterflies are the predominant theme, other insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, and dragonflies also appear. The vivid insects stand out beautifully against the creamy white background. One of the paintings is slightly stained yellow. The watercolours are rendered on pith paper, which due to its lower absorbency allows the paint to pool on the surface like an enamel, adding to the vividity of the studies.

Each painting is enclosed in a red painted frame, adorned with painted oval panels of insects that complement the theme of the paintings themselves.

Pith paper paintings such as these were designed for the export market, and typically depicted customs or wildlife indigenous to China that a Western visitor could take home as a souvenir.

These twelve paintings are rendered with incredible delicacy, and the charming subject makes them a true antique collectable.

Object Details

  • Style
  • dimensions
    W:34 x H:35 x D:1.5 centimeters
  • period
  • country
  • year
    19th Century

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