The Boy with the Butterfly

This week I am introducing a new line to my collection: Chinese Export porcelain from the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Before Europeans were able to produce porcelain, it was imported in huge quantities from China and Japan. Many of these items were made to order and the patterns, although seemingly wholly Chinese, were often a fusion of various cultures. And of course, once the British started making their own porcelain, they incorporated many of these familiar designs into their own designs, creating a whole new fusion of styles.

It is the cultural fusion and exchange that I find most fascinating about Chinese Export porcelain; while the quality was not always top-notch, the items have great cultural significance and charm, and often were beautifully hand painted.

Recently, a large collection of imported Chinese and Japanese items from the 18th and 19th Centuries (and a little bit from the 17th Century) that had been traded to The Netherlands. I will be slowly uncovering these items and telling you about them.

We'll begin with this set of 5 beautiful plates from the 19th Century. The design is called "Boy with the Butterfly". As in many items from the Orient, these are not random images - every detail has a specific meaning. This pattern expresses the wish for a male descendant (the boy), longevity and joy (the butterfly) and industriousness (the bumble bee flying behind the boy). To give these to a loved one was meant to bestow all these things upon them - and alas, boys were obviously more valued than girls in those days! Even so, I think it is a hugely enjoyable pattern and the plates are beautifully made. They were decorated in the "Kraak" style, which I will write more about another time.

You can find these boys in my shop, and in the coming weeks and months I will keep adding more items in the Chinese (and some Japanese) Export style. May you have a wonderful weekend filled with play, butterflies and bumble bees!

this week's new treasures:​

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