Pingyao Gift Box
Shanxi, circa 1950
This little octagonal black lacquer box would have been used for holding some kind of delicacy and presented as an expensive gift. It is from the ancient walled city of Pingyao in Shanxi province and the paintings - original but now slightly faded - are distinctive of that particular part of China. The paintings are predominantly in gold, with figures, houses and trees in creams, blues and greens against the black background. These boxes in an original state are now quite rare and still make beautiful ornaments or gift boxes today.