The character chun, 'spring', on the cover is an auspicious metaphor for eternal youth. Combined with the overlaying roundel of Shoulao, the god of Longevity, who symbolized long life, the box would have represented wishes for eternal youth. These combined with the other imagery: the dragons amidst clouds, the rays rising from the bowl of 'treasures' and the Buddhist emblems arrayed around the sides also add to the auspicious nature of the box. The original design was inspired by Jiajing period (1522-1566) lacquer examples like the one included in the Hong Kong O.C.S. exhibition, 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, Art Gallery, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 24 September - 21 November 1993, p. 120-1, no. 61. These boxes were so admired by the Qianlong Emperor that he ordered copies during his reign. They were used to hold food presented as a ceremonial gift at the lunar new year or for birthdays. Compare to an almost identical three-colour lacquer chun box, dated Qianlong period, illustrated in Masterpieces of Chinese Carved Lacquer Ware in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1971, pl. 25.