About Porcelains reveal five ways to color history
The Qing Dynasty was an era of ceaseless war. Both official and private kilns(a kiln is an oven that is used to bake pottery and bricks in order to make them hard) were unused until the middle of the rule of Kangxi.
The stabilization of society led to socioeconomic development that's reflected in the flourishing of porcelain during that time.
It was during Kangxi's reign that the decorative wucai porcelains grew in prominence.
While most works featured red, green, yellow, brown and purple glazes, gold and black were also extensively applied, adding resplendence and flamboyance.
One specimen of this genre is the Wucai Porcelain Vase(五彩瓷花瓶wǔcǎi cí huāpíng) with Butterfly Design in the Palace Museum's collection.
The 44-cm-high artwork depicts its subjects in an accomplished, painterly style, using red, yellow, black, blue, brownish red, violet and green.
Its slightly flared mouth rises from a short neck and rounded shoulders. Its body contracts slightly from below the shoulders and falls sharply to the rounded base, which bears no reign mark or other inscription. The area below the shoulders and all the way to the bottom is painted with flying butterflies interspersed with dragonflies.
Butterflies first appeared as decoration on porcelains in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms(AD 907-960) period. They're symbols of auspiciousness and happiness.
They are usually thought to signify venerable old age, prosperity and nobility - like cats and peonies - and express the desire for boundless wealth and glory.
The painting on this vase is created with exquisite brush strokes, featuring butterflies in groups of threes and fives.