Chinese box

Box with Landscape Scenes and Auspicious Emblems

Dublin Core

Title

Chinese box

Subject

[no text]

Description

This box is hidden inside the triangular compartment of the Florentine cabinet. It is intensely detailed, black in color with "gold-dust lacquer, elaborately wrought, the sides patterned with curved waves, and the silken cords hung with round crystals and tasseled in plaited metal threads" (Wilde 174-75). Though the item is small, its beauty in detail and effects on Dorian mark its importance in the text. It contains a "green paste waxy in lustre" with a smell that is "curiously heavy and persistent" (Wilde 175), heavily implying that the box is used to keep Dorian's opium or hashish. This connection between the box and China furthers the Orientalist decor in Dorian's library.
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The Qing dynasty box in the image is, admittedly, not the same color scheme as the box in Wilde's text. However, its elaborate carvings seem to represent a similar pattern to Dorian's box, and its description as a late 18th-early 19th century treasure box could align with Dorian's box (Box with Landscape Scenes). The box's lacquer is carved with details like bats and the Buddhist "Eight Treasures," meant to represent success and longevity (Box with Landscape Scenes). Dorian's box seems to represent moral decline and addiction in the novel.

Creator

Oscar Wilde
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New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Extravagant Display: Chinese Art in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," December 14, 2010–May 1, 2011

Source


Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Penguin, 2000.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Publisher

Penguin Books
The Met

Date

Wilde's text/ 1891
Penguin text/ 2000
18th-early 19th century

Contributor

Hannah Phillips

Rights

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Relation

Florentine Cabinet

Format

Chinese Box: H. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm); W. 9 3/8 in. (23.8 cm); L. 9 3/8 in. (23.8 cm)/ red, green, black lacquer

Language

English

Type

Text, still image

Identifier

[no text]

Coverage

[no text]

Citation

Oscar Wilde --- New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Extravagant Display: Chinese Art in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries," December 14, 2010–May 1, 2011, “Chinese box ,” Objects and Interiority in Dorian Gray, accessed July 21, 2018, https://doriangrayarchiveeng578.omeka.net/items/show/11.

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