Porcelain seal-paste box

From Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, southern China
Republican period, AD 1937

A box enamelled like a painting

After the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911, private companies in China continued to produce porcelain near the former imperial kilns at Jingdezhen. This box, made by Xu Naijing and dated to 1937, was designed to contain scarlet paste for the stamping of seal signatures. It is decorated in a style known as qianjing, which was popular in the Republican period (about 1911-49). The qianjing technique used black and sepia overglaze enamels in the manner of landscape painting.

The scene is a winter landscape. A poem adds to the impression that this is a painting. Very little colour is included in the image. There is a red seal at the end of the poem and a solitary boat at the shore. This is typically poetic expression of winter is beautifully rendered, particularly the snow-covered tree.

The box is a fine example of the high-quality eggshell porcelain manufactured at Jingdezhen in the twentieth century. The blue overglaze enamel keyfret border is a characteristic feature.

Find in the collection online

More information


S.J. Vainker, Chinese pottery and porcelain, (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)

J. Harrison-Hall, 'Chinese porcelain from Jingdezhen' in Pottery in the making: worl-10 (London, The British Museum Press, 1997), pp. 194-99


Diameter: 8.000 cm (approx.)

Museum number

Asia OA 1991.5-29.1



Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore