A carved red lacquer box and cover

Lacquer box


18th century
Width: 4 1/8 in, 10.5 cm

of peach shape with a flat base. The top is carved with a similarly shaped medallion of two peaches surrounded by five bats (Wu fu) against a ground of scrolling waves, all within a narrow border of scrolling foliage. The sides of both the box and cover are carved with a hexagonal rosette diaper. The interior and base are lacquered black.

The combination of peaches and bats represents a wish for blessings and longevity (Fushou shuangquan). Wu fu (The five blessings) are longevity, wealth, health, love of virtue and a peaceful death.

For small red lacquer boxes of this form, see Chinese Lacquer in the Palace Museum Collection, no. 60; and Chu, Auspicious Emblems: Chinese Cultural Treasures – 45th Anniversary Exhibition of the Min Chiu Society, no. 112, p. 207.