Shaped in the form of a flattened melon, this lidded box is set on the interior with a large central flower bud from which issue three branches each with furled leaves and buds interspersed with three small rounded containers presumably for cosmetics. Boxes such as this, as well as seal-ink and multifunctional lidded boxes, were produced in great quantity at Ying-ching kilns during Southern Sung and Yuan periods. The most refined of these utilitarian wares would have appealed to the educated elite and aristocratic women of China, but a great quantity were made for burial as well as exported to Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia.
The dense white body and glossy glaze seen here are characteristics of Ching-te-chen ware and it is most likely that this box comes from that center in Kiangsi province. The sunken base is molded with a reverse maker's mark reading: Tuan chia ho chi, "Box made by the Tuan family." More than a dozen different makers are recorded on ceramic boxes suggesting that numerous small family kilns, specializing in certain types of ware operated at Ching-te-chen.