VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Butterflies and insects
Bona additional object
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Paintings of flowers and birds, or hwajohwa, portray flowers, trees and birds, and it was the most popular type of folk painting, or minhwa, in Joseon era Korea. Hwajohwa feature various types of flora − such as plum blossoms, peonies, lotus, chrysanthemum, camellias, pine, bamboo and paulownia − and most of them signify good auspices. The flowers and trees are depicted in the background, against which a pair of birds can be seen playing and flying in the sky or swimming in water. Besides birds, butterflies, insects and terrestrial animals depicted in the painting are also symbols of conjugal love, fertility, begetting a son, longevity, happiness, and honor, among other fortunes in life.

History of the Object
On a wide canvas, there are cabbage, millet, and about ten big and small butterflies. Red turnips grow next to the cabbage, and also compositae plant which looks like Korean chrysanthemum is in bloom between weeds. Back to the cabbage and millet, there're a bee and three black ladybugs on the cabbage, and a hunting mantis and ladybug with the red back on a leaf of the millet. Also there's a katydid sitting on the drooped plant filled with yellow grains. Each object in this painting - butterfly, vegetable, and various insects - symbolizes different things; a butterfly means to develop the skill by studying hard, a lady bugs is to win the first place in a state examination, a turnip is to be a capable person, a bee is to keep loyalty between the sovereign and subject, a cabbage and katydid are to behave righteously, and a butterfly is to live long up to age of eighty.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Color on paper 
Measurements
61cm x 37cm 
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
unknown 
Where it was made
unknown 
Geography
Republic of Korea  
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
late 19th to early 20th century 
Function
 
Acquisition
Purchased in Seoul, Republic of Korea 
Copyright
Bona Museum 
Acknowledgements
Minhwa, Flowers and Birds, Butterflies and insects, Painting, Bona museum, late 19th to early 20th century, Korea 
Owner
Bona Museum 
Museum
Bona Museum 
Credit line
Bona Museum 

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