The present box is exceptional for its weight and the quality of the high-relief carving. For the Chinese nine is an auspicious number and the dragon is a symbol of the emperor. Therefore the motif of the dragon can be found on various Imperial pieces. The inspirations for the decoration on the present box may have come from Imperial Court robes (jifu). Ceramics were also decorated with this motif.
The dragon in waves motif can be found on various cinnabar lacquer wares, compare for example the Imperial box carved with dragons on wave ground in the Palace Museum Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong 2006, pl.9. According to Hu Shih-chang the use of characters to describe the design of the box is a feature of most Imperial lacquer during the Qianlong period. Compare with a similar box but with straight sides in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland, published in Hu Shih-chang Chinese Lacquer, Edinburgh, 1998, p.55, col, pl.30. Other examples are known in the Palace Museum Beijing, see Zhongguo qiqi quanji, vol.6 : Qing, Fuzhou, 1993, col.pl. 205. A further red lacquer circular "Dragon Treasure" Box was sold in these Rooms, 15 June 2004, lot 123.