Butterfly Jizai

 

 

Fine iron jizai of a butterfly with articulated wings.

The butterfly (choho) in Japan is perceived as “the soul of the living and the dead”, the spirits of the dead taking the form of a butterfly on their journey to the other world. The butterfly spreading its wings is a symbol of femininity. It can also symbolize joy and longevity. This last motif is taken up by the samurai, seeing in its twirling figure a motive of good omen allowing them to reach immortality. The Taira clan has adopted the butterfly as its coat of arms for this symbolism.

Japan – Meiji Era (1868-1912)

Length: 7.4 (3 inch) cm – Width: 6 cm (2,4 inch)