The motif of cranes was extremely popular during the Jiajing period because of its association with longevity, to which the emperor fervently aspired, and therefore is found on numerous 16th century lacquer pieces. The composition of the present box designed with the sixth crane emitting a Chinese character is comparable to a similar relic box sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1 November 2004, lot 848, which bears the character Sheng, 'Sacred'. For a related polychrome lacquer box from the same Lee Family Collection, dated to the early Jiajing period, carved on each vertical side with characters reading Fu Shou Chang Yong, denoting prosperity, longevity and everlasting life, see 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, the Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1993, p. 111. no. 54.
For a rectangular document box of this construction, carved with a twisted pine tree forming a stylised Shou character, in the Beijing Palace Museum Collection, see Carved Lacquer Ware, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2008, p. 79; and a related box without the removable front panel, in the collection of Fritz Low-Beer, illustrated in Im Zeichen Des Drachen, 2007, p. 155, no. 71.