QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
The box and cover are carved in the form of a melon, with its verdant leaves and vines undercut, all issuing from a single branch and extending around the sides. Two insects are clambering on the fruit. The box opens to reveal two erotic scenes. The interior shows traces of blue and pink pigment. The outside of the box and cover is patinated to a warm tone.
An example of an ivory melon-shaped box with insects crawling on the surface and revealing a hidden scene inside is published in Chinese Ivories from the Shang to the Qing, pp. 156-157, Catalogue No. 189.