Qianlong seal mark, but 1800s
Round box is very well-potted and very skillfully painted in underglaze cobalt blue with a design of a boy, or possibly an immortal, riding on the back of a crane flying among clouds. The brushwork is finely detailed—even picking out tiny feathers on the crane’s back. Encircling both the base and the lid are bands of mille-fleurs decoration executed in minute detail with skillful brushwork. Numerous types of flowers are depicted with leaves and buds filling the background. The box rests on a well-trimmed footring barely exposing a narrow line of fine, white porcelain paste, now obscured and darkened from use. The base is glazed and displays a well-written Qianlong seal mark, though written in a style that is usually thought to be late or after the actual period. The interior of the box is glazed and the unglazed rims are stained red from the seal paste.
Seal paste boxes were containers for the greasy red paste used in affixing a seal or chop to a painting and were essential painter’s or scholar’s articles.
Height: 1 1/8 in.; Diameter: 3 3/8 in.