Large Vase with Butterflies and Peonies
This is a vase with a long body and a round, swollen “shoulder” area that tapers toward the base. The shape was first formed from white clay, with the object then coated with a glaze and fired. The vase exudes a sense of refinement with its gentle uniform whiteness. Six peonies wrap around the jar's body, while five butterflies flutter across the large white space on the shoulder area. All the motifs were embossed onto the jar by applying or removing clay from the body, with smaller details like the leaf veins then carved out. Seifu Yohei lived from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period. He was adopted into the Seifu family of Kyoto potters and he became the third head of the family in 1878. He was strongly influenced by Chinese ceramics and he tried to find his own style by adopting Chinese forms of expression while experimenting with several new techniques. It seems this vase was also modelled on Qing-period Chinese porcelain, though Yohei's unique touch is apparent in the soft white tone and the motifs that rise gently from the surface. This work was exhibited to particularly high acclaim at the World's Columbian Exposition, an event held in Chicago in 1893 to showcase products from across the world.