清晚期 剔紅瓜瓞綿延圖盒 Pair of boxes with melons and butterflies
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Carved red lacquer
H. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm); Diam. 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm)
John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1913
The combination of melons and butterflies is a pun on an old idiom that expresses a wish for many offspring, like melons on vines. This encoded meaning makes this pair of boxes a likely gift for a wedding.
[ John C. Ferguson , until 1913; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Spirited Creatures: Animal Representations in Chinese Silk and Lacquer," October 21, 2017–July 22, 2018.