Monday, March 2, 2015

History's Runway: An Ivory Button Painted with a Butterfly, 1880

Painted Ivory Button
India, 1880
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here we see the first of a set of twenty-six buttons which were painted with an image of a butterfly. Made in India about 1880, for an ivory button like this to be painted with a naturalistic subject is quite unusual for the time. Most often, Delhi miniatures like this were painted with scenes of Indian monuments and portraits of Mughal emperors.

The painting is preserved under a glass disk which would have prevented wear to the image as the button was used.

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