Gold butterflies embedded with gemstones

Updated: May 22, 2023 Print
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Gold butterflies embedded with gemstones, Ming Dynasty, from the collection of the Henan Museum [Photo/Official WeChat account of the Henan Museum]

Check out this stunning set of butterfly-shaped gold jewelry from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)! It consists of three layers: the top layer features intricate gold wire petals with an oval-shaped ruby at the center; the middle layer is adorned with nine rubies and sapphires surrounding the upper layer; the bottom layer is crafted into a butterfly-shaped disc with four rubies and sapphires along the edges. Each antenna is embedded with a ruby. The other butterfly piece swaps the ruby and sapphire placements. The gold butterflies are meticulously crafted using techniques like embossing, welding, wire-drawing, and gemstone setting, resulting in a luxurious and elegant design with vibrant colors.

Excavated from a tomb in Junxian county, Henan province, in 1985, this set of gold butterflies is in the permanent collection of the Henan Museum.

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