Wooden Document Case
Shanxi, circa 1870
This wooden carrying box may have had multiple uses - possibly an artist's tool box, a scholar's stationary holder or a case for important official documents. It still has its original lacquer and metal hardware, including a brass clasp over the removable front panel which allowed the box to be secured. Behind the panel are two small drawers and an additional hidden compartment, accessed only by removing the lower drawer completely. The handle at the top is carved in the form of two dragon heads that meet in the middle and there is a further carving over the top of the brass clasp in the form of a lotus flower - a symbol for high rank and status.