Chinese folklore gives association of Shen - clam monster as a dragon or sea monster than can change shape and create mirages. Many times being associated with death. A box containing Shen can easily symbolize that death has past and kept inside this box for protection. Cloisonné has been around for thousands of years, used worldwide and is an expensive process to complete correctly. Cloisonnes or wires separate the various colors which need to be fired in a kiln at separate temperatures to harden. Perfecting this technique has taken lifetimes. A large clam-shell box as this example would be had by a wealthy patron, probably protecting themselves from a recent death. Approximately 5 5/8" Wide x 3" High x 4 1/2" Deep. Ming/Qing.