Painted Box with Flowers
Shanxi, circa 1950
These lovely, brightly coloured and painted boxes date from the mid 20th century. Each one is finished in a red lacquer and decorated with traditional paintings on the front, showing various designs such as birds and flowers, children or 'foo dogs'. It was the custom for boxes like these to be presented to young boys on their birthdays by their grandparents. Each subsequent birthday a further small gift would be given that would be placed inside the box. The boxes are all old, though now mostly repainted. This particular one is painted with flowers on the front, whilst the black lacquer frame includes symbols for long life.