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Antique Boxes in English Society
1760 -1900
Tea Caddies and Tea
Tea Caddies and Tea



Chinese Export Lacquer Tea Caddy with Gold Decoration Circa 1850
 A Chinese export lacquer tea chest with gold decoration containing two metal tea canisters. It stands on carved wooden feet in the shape of paws.

 Circa 1850.

Dimensions:7.7" wide 5" deep 5" tall with feet.

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The canted corners are decorated with pictures of a young bird in a garden. Many legends exist in China involving birds and the sympathetic relationships between them and humans; these involve metamorphosis, speaking their tongue, and various other mystical and supernatural attributes. On account of this rich folklore, birds are highly symbolic in Chinese art.

This bird looks like a young oriole, the bird of joy and music and the symbol of friendship, one of the five human relationships.

The central panels are decorated with figures in gardens.   chlac0203.jpg (129888 bytes)
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There are two canisters with engraved decoration on the inside. The soft metal has suffered some bending as can be seen on the photo.

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The top with a scene of figures in a garden, contained in a whimsical cartouche in the form of a stylized pineapple.   

The back of the box has a repaired split under the hinges visible in the picture above the decoration.  chlac0206.jpg (171766 bytes)
For the historical context of this caddy read the relevant part of Antigone's Online Antique Box Book. If you click here you will go there.
We have written a highly illustrated book on Antique Boxes and Tea caddies which is being published by Schiffer Books USA. 

  © 2002 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly