Length: 4 1/4 inches, 11 cm
Height: 3 1/2 inches, 9 cm


Lacquer box of peach form

China, Qianlong reign, 1735 - 1796

A lacquer box in the form of a peach with a flat base. The domed cover is carved in relief with a cartouche depicting a cluster of pomegranate, peach and finger citron with foliage and flowers, all contained within a border of peaches and flowers. The whole is carved on a ground of square diapers, and the fruits are each decorated with a different diaper pattern. The domed sides are adorned with a pattern of hexagonal diapers, above a band of stiff leaves. The interior and the flat base are lacquered in black.

The decoration of pomegranate, peach and finger or Buddha’s hand citron symbolizes “May you have an abundance of blessings, long life and sons”, fushou sandou.[1] The peach form itself also references immortality: the word for peach (tao) can also mean: ‘May you live long’.[2] A lacquer box in the shape of a peach is in the Muwen Tang collection.[3]

Phillip Allen collection, Woolley & Wallis, Salisbury, November 2023

  1. Tse Bartholomew, T. Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 2006, 1.2.2, p. 31
  2. Tse Bartholomew, T. op cit, 7.44.1, p. 204
  3. Kwan, S. Chinese Lacquer, the Muwen Tang Collection series, no. 20, Hong Kong, 2010, no. 122, pp. 328