Painted in a technique known as the 'boneless style' for its virtually skeleton and outline-free design, the only lines incorporated into the composition are the black lines used to define the veins on the leaves and butterflies. It represented a great challenge to the artists as lesser-skilled painters would require outlines to complete their sections of decoration, and if not handled correctly it would give the impression that the piece was unfinished.
See two larger pairs of 'boneless' dishes, painted with roses and asters, but lacking the butterflies: one pair, sold in our London rooms, 11 May 2011, lot 281, and again at Christie's New York, 22nd/23rd March 2018, lot 818; and another pair, sold at Christie's New York, 18th/19th September 2014, lot 961. Compare also a pair of 'boneless' cups sold in these rooms, 6th April 2016, lot 3619.
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