Woman's Sleeveless Jacket with Butterflies


Not on view

Tapestry-woven (kesi) silk and metallic thread Emblematic of summer and joy, butterflies have long inspired Chinese writers, artists, and even philosophers. For example, the Zhuangzi, a book of Daoist thought (ca. 300 A.D.), contains a story in which the purported author, Zhuangzi dreams he is a butterfly. By the late Tang dynasty, a story of "butterfly lovers" appeared in which a young couple, tragically thwarted in their wishes to wed, turn into a pair of butterflies and flutter away.

The delicate tapestry-woven (kesi) butterflies seen on the green background of this sleeveless jacket also occur on the black background of its border. Beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century, the borders at the edges of garments became increasingly elaborate.

Woman's Sleeveless Jacket with Butterflies, Tapestry-woven silk and metallic thread (kesi), China

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.