Double Happiness Snack Box

c. 1900
$688 USD
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W: 16.0" D: 16.0" H: 7.75"
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This simple lacquered container was once a portable snack box, presented as a gift during holidays and special occasions. To the delight of the recipients, the unassuming box would have opened to reveal a bounty of popular snack foods, such as roasted melon seeds, dried fruits, and soybeans toasted with cinnamon, fennel, and other spices.

The lid is hand-painted with an array of colorful peony blossoms, emblems of springtime and symbols of love, beauty and affection. The floral scene is enclosed by a golden-yellow border and finished with the Chinese character for "double happiness" (囍 shuāngxǐ), a traditional symbol of marriage and conjugal bliss. The exterior of the square box is covered with a layer of black lacquer, with traces of the red underlayer visible on the sides.

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