Covered box
China, possibly Canton; 1800–1900
Silver (filigree), probably white jade
Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1959.0545 

Likely created from melted Spanish Reales and refashioned for an export item, this box’s roots lie in the gold working techniques of ancient Mesopotamia and India. Craft traditions from these countries informed the Chinese imperial art of filigree, masterfully twisted wire and grains of gold or silver. This box is an example of that difficult technique. The white jade adornment on the top is delicately carved to allow for light and translucency.