28. Butterflies and blue

This next vase is full of lovely wirework. It uses fields of blue to add colour, and offers a host of different butterflies alongside delightful patterns. It also has a lone Houou Bird who feels rather out of place.

Looking at the butterflies first, one panel has six or more of different design, while the neck has three similar ones. The execution is pleasing and artistic and the workshop clearly is experienced in getting the effects it wants.

Turning then briefly to the Houou Bird that adorns another panel, where it is presented on a similar dark gray/green background at a fairly small scale and with a blue cloud crashing into its beak. The wirework is lovely but the overall look is underwhelming. We can guess that this was an early attempt to introduce a new element, and not one that worked well.

ref 28.6

Returning to better executed areas, the other four of the six ‘shields’ on this vase are filled with the two patterns below repeated twice. This is really neat wirework and accurate application of enamel.

The overall feeling is that this vase is produced by a workshop which has mastery of wirework, and is enjoying the added attractiveness of being able to have unwired expanses of blue. The Houou Bird, by contrast, shows the challenges raised when you forever need to add new elements to please the market.

Object 28. vase height 21.5cm weight 407 gms.

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