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Silk SurcoatIn storage
Man's surcoat of dark blue silk (China, circa 1855) decorated with eight large roundels, three in front, two on the shoulder and three at the back, with gold embroidery of auspicious motifs that symbolise wealth, rank, honour, and longevity, interspersed with flower sprays and butterflies.
Possibly presented as a birthday gift to an old man who had had official success, in the wish that his success would pass on to future generations, from son to son.
Bridal CollarIn storage
Woman's multi-layered collar, probably to be worn by a bride on her wedding day, comprising overlapping panels of multicoloured satin. The top tier of the petal-shaped panels is embroidered with butterflies and floral sprays on turquoise satin, the second tier with flowering branches in vases on lilac satin, the third tier with the Eight Daoist Emblems on cream satin, the fourth tier with lady in garden scene alternating with the Eight Precious Objects, ba bao, on red satin, and the fifth tier with flowering branches with birds or insects, on either turquoise or purple.
Altar ClothOn display: Horniman Museum
A square-shaped silk table frontal or altar cloth (China, late 19th Century). The main panel has a large bloom in the centre, probably a peony, and other flower motifs, a butterfly in the bottom left corner and a phoenix at the top.
Two black satin bands hang over the main image: each has poems in the form of eight different Chinese characters worked in gold thread. The left part of the couplet 玉骨形中秋霜有約 roughly translates as: 'in the shape of jadeite bones, we should remember to see the frost in autumn'; the right hand one, which has two metal bells attached, reads 水精影裡明月無心. This roughly translates as: 'in the reflection of the clear water, there is a bright moon hanging idly in the sky'. The couplet conveys an attitude of respect for elderly people and clarity or purity in inner reflection.
Batik Printing BlockIn storage
Batik printing block made of bands of copper alloy formed into the shape of a butterfly. The edges of the band can be pressed into hot wax, and the wax impressed onto the surface of a piece of cloth.
Magic Lantern SlidesIn storage
One of a set of 12 magic lantern slides depicting three butterflies from Germany, 1910.
Lacquer BoxOn display: Horniman Museum
Box made of wood, covered in black lacquer on the exterior and base. The exterior and base are densely decorated with butterflies, floral and fruit motifs with inlaid mother-of-pearl and semi-precious stones. Fitted with cloisonné mounts on each corner. The cloisonné mounts are decorated with a peony and scroll design against turquoise enamel background. There is a dull, red lacquer on the inner surface. China, Qing Dynasty.
Karakuru NecklaceIn storage
Necklace from Guyana made from undyed karakuru seed, with a pendant. The pendant appears to have an animal motif, possibly of a butterfly.
Chinese teapot with a cylindrical body and a curved metal spout. The two handles, also of metal are bound with string hooked through holes in lugs on the top of the pot. The lid rests on a circular hole in the top. The surface is decorated in great detail with scenes depicting birds on leaves, and human groups, surrounded by borders of butterflies and flowers.
Gilt brass three-tined hairpin with a large ornamental head from the Qing Dynasty, which is decorated with filigree in the shape of a vase containing a flower and with a butterfly flying above. Butterfly inlaid with jade, while the flower is inset with a quartz and an agate. A small amount of kingfisher feathers remain on the vase base. Most of the inlaid gemstones are missing.
Wooden LadleIn storage
Elaborately carved wooden ladle from Nigeria with incised punched decoration. The inside of the bowl is decorated with two butterflies or moths. The handle has three carved chain links and a carved lizard wrapped around the bowl. The lizard’s head protrudes through the hole of the bottom link. A diamond shaped chain link with an incised butterfly on each side links the chain to a carved pedestal on top of which is a standing lion.