The four-character mark, shouchun baohe, may be translated, 'The treasure box of eternal spring and longevity'.
The various themes of longevity on boxes of this type indicate that they were made for birthday celebrations or were celebratory gifts given away by the emperor.
A similar box and cover in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji, Lacquer, vol. 8, Beijing, 1989, pl. 172. Another is illustrated in Kaogu, 1994:2, p. 87, pl. 11; and another example in the Avery Brundage Collection, is illustrated by Sir Harry Garner, Chinese Lacquer, London, 1979, p. 148, fig. 90. See, also, the example from the Manno Art Museum, sold Christie's, Hong Kong, 28 October 2002, lot 568.
For a Jiajing prototype see Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Government Exhibits from the International Exhibition of Chinese Art in London, 1936, vol. IV, Miscellaneous, p. 87, fig. 4. It is interesting to note that the later Qianlong examples were specifically commissioned to emulate the earlier quality and elaborate utilization of the different lacquer colors.