Combination footed sewing and writing box of black lacquer. Hinged top opens to reveal an inset tray, with gold paint around top edges. Tray has 15 compartments for sewing items. Desk opens to a scarlet velvet writing surface.
The Chinese may well have invented the compass; it was in use in the 12th-13th centuries there. This one is not a navigation compass but was used in feng sui. It is a dry card type perhaps modeled on the European types introduced into China in the 16th century.
Chinese cabinet purchased in Hong Kong in the 1890s by Capt. Eben Curtis of Searsport, while master of the ship Tillie E. Starbuck of New York. The Tillie E. Starbuck was one of America's first iron sailing vessels, built by the John Roach yard in Chester, Pennsylvania in 1883. Curtis became her master in 1891.
Chinese devil chaser mask brought back from the Yangtze River area by Captain Wilbur Carver of Searsport. He was a young naval officer when he purchased this mask, in service on the China station in the 1930s.