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  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1860 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, covered in black lacquer and painted in gold

  • Credit Line:

    Johnson Gift

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Furniture and small lacquered items were made at the workshops in Canton by special order of European clients, and shipped to Europe by individual captains or private companies. During the 18th century, shapes and designs were often made in imitation of western models, but by the mid 19th century 'oriental' scenes and motifs became particularly popular.

This box, covered in black lacquer and painted in gold, belongs to this category. The crowded depiction of gardens with pavilions, bridges and figures, framed by a band of dragons, was perceived as typically 'oriental' by European clients in search of 'exotic' and foreign items. The subject was specifically made for the export market, and the quality of the finished product was not of the highest standards.

Physical description

Wooden box with hinged lid, covered with black lacquer and with gilding in two shades. The cover has a rectangular cartouche containing a garden scene with pavilions, bridges and figures, and framed by a band of dragons; a continuous band of pavilions and bridges runs along the edge of the lid. Small cartouches containing figures in garden settings are painted on the sides of the box over a ground of floral scrolls.

Place of Origin

China (made)


ca. 1860 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Wood, covered in black lacquer and painted in gold


Width: 44.5 cm, Depth: 31 cm, Height: 13.5 cm

Descriptive line

Wooden box covered in black lacquer with gold decoration, China, Qing dynasty, ca. 1850.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Clunas, Craig (ed.). Chinese Export Art and Design. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1987, p. 90, fig. 74.

Labels and date

Wood covered in black lacquer with gold lacquer decoration.
About 1860
Johnson Gift [1987]


Wood; Lacquer


Lacquering; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Views; Dragons; Pagodas; Gardens; Figures; Floral scrolls


Lacquerware; Household objects


East Asia Collection

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