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Octagonal Fruit Box of Black Lacquer with Mother-of-pearl Inlays of Colored Flowers and Archaic Drag

Dates:Qing Dynasty

Size:Diagonal length 30.3cm, Height 29.5cm

The Octagonal fruit box is thick but not heavy. It has a flared base and the whole body is lacquered black and decorated with various patterns of mountains and water, birds, flowers and archaic dragons. On every side of the box, there are patterns delineated in gold tracery within reserved panels. Its brocade ground is decorated with triangular or leaf-shaped mother-of-pearl, adding much luster to the box. Within reserved panels of the base painted eight lotus flowers, in the same shape but different colors. The box seam is also decorated with archaic dragon pattern in different colors, with the dragons on the upper cover strong and vigorous while those on the lower body slender and lively. There are eight pictures of flowers and birds as well as eight pictures of landscape in spacing distribution within reserved panels. The flowers and bird pictures depict hibiscus, daisy, peach blossom, plum blossom, apricot blossom, lotus flower, reed, golden pheasant, butterfly and so on in vivid and natural manner. And the landscape pictures show exquisite composition of the stretching mountains, the vast river waves, the green pine and willows, the magnificent palaces and the wild ferries. On top of the cover is a colored picture of landscape and hermits in the classic composition of two mountains with one water. On the right are a forest of mountains, a house hidden behind the mountain, a long isle stretching to the river, and green willow, flowers and trees on the isle. On the left are towering mountains and a quiet pavilion which is connected to the isle by a single-log bridge. An old man is walking over the wooden bridge. Near the river, two dark-awning boats are rowing toward the shore a scene with profound meaning. Red lacquer is used to outline the images of high mountains, the isle, forests, the building, the glinting water, the characters and the boat, while gold lacquer is used to detail the leaves and roofs. The various decoration and colors on the box are harmonious and eye-catching, but the basic colors are black, gold and red, so it does not appear vulgar. On the underside of the box inscribed “Sign of Hui, Sicheng Hall”.

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