The butterfly is a symbol of love and fidelity between husband and wife. One popular folk tale recounts the story of a young male student and a maiden who fell in love but were forbidden to marry. The student pined away and died, and when the maiden was on her way to her arranged wedding, she stopped to cry at his tomb. Suddenly the tomb opened and a butterfly emerged. She too was transformed into a butterfly and they flew away together.
Peach blossoms appear in the Book of Songs (Shijing / Shih-ching éç„S, China’s most ancient poetry anthology, compiled by the fifth century B.C.E. at the latest) in a poem about how young men and women should marry at an appropriate age.
Together, butterflies and peach blossoms make this fan a perfect wedding or engagement gift.
Maribeth Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art
Exhibited in "Flora and Fauna in Chinese Art," April 6, 2002 - December 1, 2002.
Signed by the artist: In 1832, I inscribed at Lai-yüan in Ch'ih-yang, Hsiao-t'ing. (Hsi Tao-kuang jen-ch'en (1832), t'i yü Ch'ih-yang chih Lai-yüan Hsiao-t'ing) One artist's seal follows the inscription: Hsiao-t'ing.
A narrative scene in which the Buddha Amitabha (Ch. Amitofou) rescues sailors at sea; an extensive inscription includes a title and long text. Above the framed narrative is an image of the Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara (Ch. Guanyin), seated on a lotus dais, within a moon-shaped halo.