This papier-mâché oblong box is from Kashmir in India. The art of papier-mâché (a French term that means "mashed paper") has been a tradition in Kashmir since the 15th century. Boxes like this one were made to keep pens and other small items in and were handed down in families for generations.
The highly detailed hand painting on this example features a "Peaceable Kingdom" type scene, with rabbits, Indian antelopes and a lion cavorting on the slightly rounded top and flat sides. The rich green background allows them to stand out; they are surrounded by various leaves and trees. The insides and the bottom of the box and the lid are lacquered black and it is signed on the box bottom "Hand Made in Kashmir India."
This beautiful box is in very good condition, having only some alligatoring of the lacquer on the inner lid and the inner, upper edges of the box and a few tiny chips. It measures 8 inches long, 2 1/2 inches front to back and about 1 3/4 inches high, large enough to hold pencils, pens, artists' brushes or just look great on a table, desk or shelf.
Note: In order for the animals to be portrayed correctly on the sides, the lid fits on just one way. In the photo with the vase, you can see how it looks the wrong way.