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.
The butterflies and peach blossoms on this fan would have made it a perfect wedding or engagement gift. In China the butterfly is a symbol of love and fidelity between a married couple. One popular folk tale recounts the story of a young male student and a maiden who fall in love but are forbidden to wed. The student pines away and eventually dies. On the way to her arranged wedding, the maiden stops to cry at his tomb when suddenly it opens and her first love emerges in the form of a butterfly. She, too, is transformed into a butterfly and they fly away together. The peach blossoms are a reference to a poem in the Book of Songs, or Shijing, China’s most ancient poetry anthology, compiled by the fifth century BCE.