I am amazed by the fineness of so many Chinese antiques, and the more I look at real Chinese Cinnabar carving, the more amazed I am. This unusually large box would have been entirely carved by hand, then coated with many successive layers of lacquer. Cinnabar takes its name from the red mineral, a form of mercury sulfide, used to dye the lacquer (while the other colors have sometimes been used, red is most common, most likely due to the association of the color red with good luck.)
The face of this deeply carved, hinged box, which I believe dates from sometime between 1900-1920, features a scene of scholars in a traditional Chinese scholar's garden, with wonderfully detailed trees, pavilions, rock features, and bridges. The sides of the box feature a flower and vine design. The interior and underside of the box are enameled a terrific bright blue, and the box sits on round brass or bronze feet. Really a wonderful piece.
This box--measuring 8 1/2" long x 3 5/8" deep x 2 3/8" tall-- is in very good condition, with no damage at all to the carving. There is a bit of loss of lacquer just around the edges of the box, very minor, and the interior enamel is in near perfect condition. The hinges are in good shape, firmly in place and opening and closing with ease--one must be just a very tiny bit bent, as the lid sits at just the slightest bit off square (maybe 1-2 degrees), but still flush to the bottom.