African Butterfly Wings Paintings

By Insect Museum of West China

African Butterflies (2011/2017) by Zhao LiInsect Museum of West China

The African region has nearly 3,000 species of butterflies, mainly distributed in tropical rainforests near the equator.

Blue Macaw by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

The butterfly wing painting is an exquisite art in Africa. Countries that abound with butterflies, such as Cameroon, Zambia, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic, use collages of colorful butterfly wings to form a variety of paintings.

Breastfeeding Antelope No.2 by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

These works demonstrate us the natural and cultural features of Africa in a very vivid way.

Tockus No.1 by UnknownOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

Tockus is a genus of birds in the family Bucerotidae native to Africa and has 14 species. Because of the eye-catching appearence, it is a frequent subject of butterfly wings painting.

Giraffe by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

Giraffe is a representative animal of the African savanna and is also a common creative material for African butterfly wing painting.

The brush-footed butterfly used for the giraffe's body is a local dominant creature and therefore appears in most of the butterfly wings paintings.

Elephant by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

African elephants are deeply loved by people and are also common subjects of butterfly wings painting.

Antelope Head by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

The antelope is a representative animal of the African savanna and is a common creation subject for African butterfly wings painting.

Mother and Child Antelope by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

Female antelopes carrying their children are very easy to see in the African savanna, so their different life scenes have become the subject of butterfly wings painting.

Barbet by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

The barbet is one of the beautiful birds on the African savanna, so it is chosen as a model of the butterfly wings painting.

Crane by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

Various cranes can be seen near the lakes of the African grasslands.

Working Woman by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

In many parts of Africa, women have a unique skill, that is, carrying a few pounds of things on the head while talking, laughing, and walking as if on wings.

Women in Working While Carrying Their Children by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

Because of traditions, customs and other reasons, African women have developed this unique skill since childhood.

African Nymphalidae (2014/2017) by Zhao LiInsect Museum of West China

Since a beautiful butterfly wings painting can be sold in for hundreds or even thousands of euros in Europe, catching butterflies has therefore fed a large number of poor peasants in the African equatorial region. They don't even go to the fields, but go to the forest to capture brightly colored butterflies.

Concentric Circles No.1 by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

This painting was made using hundreds of butterflies.

The white part is made from butterflies of the family Pieridae, and the rest parts are made from butterflies of the families Nymphalidae and Papilionidae.

Cockatoo by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

This cockatoo is made up of more than 10 spices of butterflies from 3 familes, namely Nymphalidae, Papilionidae and Pieridae.

Concentric Circles No.3 by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

Issoria is a genus of butterflies native to Africa, and its wings show the luster like the pearl layer inside the shell.

The two sides of this painting used a large number of Issoria wings.

Macaws by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

Butterfly hunters capture butterflies in a special way. They usually collect the dog's faeces and then use them to attract butterflies. Most of the raw material butterflies of this blue macaw painting can be attracted by dog faeces.

Tockus No.2 by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

After the capture of butterflies, the butterfly hunter will flatten the butterfly's abdomen, kill the butterfly and then dismember it by removing the head and torso, and keeping only the wings as a material for butterfly wings paintings.

Brown Macaw by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

To make a butterfly wings painting, you need to conceive the content of the painting in advance, cut out the pattern, and finally stick the butterfly wings on it.

This brown macaw painting cleverly matches different markings on butterfly wings.

Psilopogon by Cameroonian ArtistOriginal Source: Acquired from a friend's gift on July 10, 1988

Cameroon's per capita GDP is $1,590 in 2019, which is relatively low. But by capturing butterflies and making butterfly wings paintings, these artists have already lived well in the local area.

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