Chinese boxes

Chinese boxes

Chinese boxes are a set of boxes of graduated size, each fitting inside the next larger box.

A traditional style in Chinese design, nested boxes have proved a popular packaging option in the west for novelty or display reasons.

The Russian Matryoshka doll, is a modern interpretation of this form. Invented as an 'authentic' folk toy by crafter Sergei Maliutin in 1891, this first Russian Doll set was actually created on commission from a noble family to make a Russian version of a similar Japanese doll.

As with the above example, such Chinese nested boxes have inspired similar forms of packaging around the world, but also have found use as a figurative description, providing an illustrative example to demonstrate situations of conceptually nested or recursive arrangements.

In literature a Chinese box structure refers to a novel or drama that is told in the form of a narrative inside a narrative (and so on), giving views from different perspectives. Examples include Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein and Jostein Gaarder's The Solitaire Mystery.

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