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this handmade asian box is a real stumper

Posted by cslambert (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 18, 11 at 19:13

Ok experts, please help-

Ive received mixed responses on the origins of this well crafted box and what it was used for. Some said Japanese tea ceremony box for marines, and others said a Chinese box from a Shanghai tea shop referencing an imperial tea garden.

Here are what the translations are said to be in chinese:

上海 = Shanghai
雙龍茶店 = Double Dragon Tea Shop
北苑 = North Park (Imperial tea garden)

Still, I am unsure of its actual purpose. Any ideas?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: this handmade asian box is a real stumper

Asian goods, especially ceramics, come with fitted boxes, some rougher than others. Yours is a fine and probably old box. It's worth something to the person who has what it once contained.

RE: this handmade asian box is a real stumper

The latter is correct, but I wouldn't have translated that to read as "park". "Garden" would be more correct and was/is the name (North Garden) of a famous Imperial garden located within the forbidden city.

IMO, it looks to be a souvenir tea set meant for outings, so would have been made after 1912, but I would probably say more like 1930-1960. It's main purpose would have been for display though rather than as an actual "fine quality" tea set. The recessed space was more than likely for the hot water container. The inside divider tray that would hold the actual tea set is missing, but a nice little box.

I don't know that it would be worth all that much without the actual tea set.

Ceremonial tea set boxes would typically lay horizontal, open from the top, and wouldn't have a handle.

RE: this handmade asian box is a real stumper

Thank you both for the responses. I'm sort of at odds whether or not to keep the interior intact or not. On the one hand, it's such a cool old box, and would make a great place to store teas or something similar in the kitchen, but on the otherhand, if this box has any value, be it historical or otherwise, I wouldn't want to alter it. What are your thoughts? leave as is or remove the purple velvet etc?

RE: this handmade asian box is a real stumper

Personally, I don't think there is a whole lot of historical or intrinsic value without the set as a whole. A very cool old box though!

If it were mine... I would strip it out and use it as a keepsake box for one of my boys. A nice home for their cord clips, their baby hats, pictures, "it's a boy" cigar, collector coins from their grandfather, school awards... etc. kwim?

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