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19th Century Chinese Silver Box

A work of art you can hold in your hand. Silver, repousse, chased and under carved on each side. The floras at the corners of the top are young prunus blossoms (plum or apricot family) associated with long life.

0014 At the center are two birds surrounded by the prunus with ripened fruit on the branches. The smaller bird with the cocked tail is a magpie; the larger a heron or perhaps a crane.

0010 In China the magpie is one of the most popular birds…its name literally translated as ‘bird of joy’…Margaret Duda says a single magpie on the prunus branch means ‘happiness up to your eyebrows’. (Oddly in European folklore the magpie is associated with trouble and unhappiness with multiple superstitions around it).

4 The crane is mentioned in the I Ching by name. In the hexagram Inner Truth: “A crane is calling in the shade. Its young answers it.” …This indicates a heart free of prejudices and therefore open to truth. All the symbols of joy and fertility suggest that the box was a wedding gift.

I would like to think that the two birds ‘of a different feather’ have recognized each other’s call and found a comrade.

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