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This Chinese lacquered box contains two lead tea canisters to keep the tea stored inside dry and fresh. Lacquer work is a Chinese craft dating back at least two thousand years. Lacquer is resin from a tree native to China. It is applied to a layer of chalk or clay on top of linen panels fixed to a wooden surface. Each thin layer of lacquer must be allowed to dry slowly before the next one is applied. A design is then carved into the dried and polished lacquer and gilded or set with mother of pearl.
© Museum of London