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Set of Red Lacquer Boxes Carved with the Eight Immortals

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Period: Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Medium: Wood

The set comprises nine peach-shaped boxes lacquered yellow, grass green, and red on their surfaces. The sides of each box are carved with a brocade pattern. The top of each lid is carved with one of the Eight Immortals, and the ninth one with the God of Longevity. Each figure is portrayed as holding an attribute, stepping on a ruyi-cloud while another cloud hovers overhead, flanked by peach trees, and supported by the widespread wings of a robust bat from below. They make up the theme of "The Immortals Presenting Birthday Felicitations". Similar combinations are often seen among other works in the Qing palace. The nine boxes are stored in an exquisitely crafted large polychrome lacquer case in the shape of a ruyi-cloud, decorated with gold-filled design (a technique called qiangjin). The upper surface of the lid is carved with bats, jade chimes, and scrolling lotus within a conforming key-fret border to symbolise endless fortunes and boundless jubilance. 

Website version edited by Zhuang Ying and Adam J. Ensign

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