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Box with Relief-carved Lid

late 19th century Unidentified carved and painted wood with copper, iron and paper 7 x 18 3/4 x 11 3/4 in. (17.8 x 47.6 x 29.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.74 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

Folk artists and craftsmen make boxes for both functional and decorative reasons. An unknown artist created this piece in the late nineteenth century and decorated it with a pattern of leaves and symbols. The box’s interior is also decorated: the lid shows a print of two harness racers, while the base has a nostalgic scene of children playing in front of a large house. The heart, diamond, and spade designs on the lid suggest the box was designed to hold playing cards or poker chips.


Animal - horse

Architecture - vehicle - carriage

Figure group - male

Recreation - sport and play - equestrian

decorative arts

folk art

metal - copper

metal - iron