Chinese export lacquer painted sewing box with fully fitted interior. The exterior finely painted on all sides with chinoiserie scenes, the box resting on carved paw feet, on each side handles, slightly sloping top along the edges and wide canted corners. One exterior drawer having three open compartments and one hinged with pagoda and tree motifs. The original two lidded fitted interior having three removable trays and pierced, finely decorated corner elements holding carved bone thread reels. Other fine bone sewing tools include intricate needle holders, clamps, winders and winding spools. Working lock and key, the same key engaging both locks. A very decorative and original box in excellent condition considering its age and fragile nature.China circa 1850, made for the English market. 1
height: 6 in. 15 cm., width: 13 in. 33 cm., depth: 9 in. 23 cm.
Further readings and sources:
- Chinese Export Lacquer. This is the best period for workboxes in this material. Each box represents countless hours of skilled work. Sometimes they are rectangular, but mostly they are in rounded sarcophagus shapes with very fine gold decoration depicting oriental scenes. Most have lift out trays containing turned and carved ivory tools, barrel thread containers, circular boxes, thimbles, waxers, tape measures, sometimes clamps, and other tools. These are larger than most other workboxes of the period. Most have a drawer on the lower part opening to reveal a small writing surface. This was to be used when painting was incorporated into an embroidery design, a popular practice of the time, both in China and Europe.
Excerpted from Antique Boxes tea caddies & society 1700-1880, Antigone Clarke & Joseph O’Kelly, ©2003, p 242-3 ↩