The « bamboo skin » rectangular box with lid carved on the five sides. The top decorated with the Shou ideogram (寿) framed by two stylized phoenixes swirling among foliage in a large circular medallion, the corners with foliated scrolls of Buddha’s hand fruits, peaches, grenades and lingzhi mushrooms sprandrels. The other four faces respectively decorated with panels showing branches of prunus, bamboo, peonies and lotus stems.
This box shows a very rich iconography with recurring patterns of Chinese art. Thus, lingzhi mushroom, peach and Buddha’s hand fruit are associated with longevity while the pomegranate is a symbol of abundance and fertility. The association of Buddha’s hand fruit, peach and pomegranate (“Three Abundances” Sanduo) constitutes a vow of good fortune, longevity and numerous sons. The peony, “queen of flowers”, is associated with spring and wealth, while the lotus, the flower of summer, symbolizes purity and harmony. Bamboo and prunus remind us of integrity, humility and perseverance. They are associated to autumn and winter.