This black and white chalk drawing on blue paper depicts a loosely sketched landscape featuring rock formations and small hills. The rocks in the foreground are highlighted in white chalk as is what appears to be a glimpse of sky in the upper right corner.
This ceramic vase has a long oval shape with a wide neck, rounded lip and sloping shoulder area. The circular rings from the process of being thrown on the wheel can be seen beneath the glaze. The glaze is a yellow-orange matt, with dark brown patches, over a shiny celadon green and iridescent purple base.
Pewabic Pottery was founded in Detroit, Michigan by Mary Chase Stratton, an artist of the Arts and Crafts movement. Her pottery had simple shapes and retained the natural characteristics of its material. She once said, "if an object is beautiful, it is because of its own expression, and not because it has been made to look like something else."
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.
Inscription and signature of the artist: (After Lan Tianshu [a.k.a. Lan Ying, 1585–after 1664), copying [Dwelling in the] Fuchun Mountains by Dachi [a.k.a. Huang Gongwang, 1269–1354]. Ryûzan, man of leisure.)