A very unique and unusual Oriental papier-mache box with two erotic scenes.
The box, probably papier-mache, appears to be covered with leather then stitched at each end. The decoupage scenes were added and a reddish-brown lacquer applied. The leather acts as the hinge for the box.
The two sexually graphic scenes appear to have been taken from shunga paintings or prints and then adorned with further decorative pieces before being lacquered.
At first glance this old box appears to be some sort of folk art, perhaps a home-made piece, but there is a large maker’s mark on the front to the left of the lock.
The adult scenes both feature couples in a romantic embrace. However, the scene inside the box is more amusing. It appears to show a man trying to learn a woman’s anatomy by referring to a book. But alas, his hand still needs to be guided by the woman to the correct place. A problem as old as time!
One does wonder what this box was designed to hold, something more than love letters perhaps? I’d suggest storing the Oreos somewhere else!
The one-of-a-kind box measures approx. 30cm x 16cm x 10cm and weighs 572 grams and has a traditional brass lock. The base of the inside has been covered with red silk fabric with gold thread featuring flowers and dragons. It is in good vintage condition but the interior of the box appears to be more worn than the exterior. (Perhaps some poor lady was giving her husband a hint?)