Material and Medium: Ivory
Dimensions: Overall: 63 × 49 × 142mm (2 1/2 × 1 15/16 × 5 9/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 2007.350
The melon shape of the box symbolises fertility and a wish for many sons. Inside, one half has a scene of egrets and lotus leaves. This creates a rebus (pictures that represent other words) wishing success in the Civil Service exams.
The other half of the box has the scene of 'A Hundred Birds Worship the Phoenix'. In legend the hard working but plain phoenix saved the lives of all other birds during a drought. As thanks, the birds gave him their most beautiful feathers. The phoenix is seen as a symbol of auspiciousness and happiness.