An original 19th-century watercolour painting, Peony Flowers & Butterfly.
This is an exceptional and rare example of a traditional Chinese painting on the skeleton of a peepal leaf. Particularly well preserved, the painting is beautifully detailed and vivid, complete with fine decorative border. The peepal tree, otherwise known as sacred fig or Bodhi tree, is native to south-west China, Indochina and the Indian subcontinent. Its leaves form perfect, delicate, transparent skeletons once dried, and as such are uniquely suited to this art form. The skeleton would typically be varnished, before being painted with vivid, backgroundless genre scenes. The resulting paintings were prized by Western travellers and traders who travelled to the Far East in the 19th-century.The painting comes with its original album page, to which it is secured with blue ribbon. The leaf tucked under the ribbon and is not stuck down in any way, so can be removed entirely from the backing paper if wanted.
Overall in exceptionally good condition for its age. There is a small piece of tape on the verso reinforcing the bottom of the central vein, as is usual for these leaf paintings. There is some foxing to the backing paper as shown.
18.6cm x 13.9cm.
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Product code: JK-155