What Is It? July 2022

 July’s What Is It? appears to be a collection of mid-19th century black-lacquered and hand-painted papier mache boxes according to William McLaren of Alaska. Most appear to be snuff boxes. Portraits of prominent people or landscapes are commonly seen, as are gilded initials and inscriptions.
 The portrait box in the top middle is of a shape to hold cheroot (cigars) or possibly spectacles. It was common to paint portraits of prominent figures on the boxes, as was done on four of the 6. The most interesting boxes were those on the lower left and right, both of which feature General Zachary Taylor at different points in his life. The one on the right commemorates his early military career, such as in the War of 1812. The one on the left was likely made later, possibly in 1849, when he became president at age 65. The inscriptions around the portrait call him: “Old Rough and Ready, The Hero of the War with Mexico, Gen Zach Taylor.” President Taylor served only 16 months, the third shortest tenure of any President.
 Dottie Unruh of Lakewood, Colorado; Terry Cook of Fort Morgan, Colorado; Joyce Fuller of Littleton, Colorado and Tricia Myers of Berwyn Heights, Maryland also all correctly identified July’s What Is It. Congratulations! You have all won a year’s subscription to the Mountain States Collector. Thanks for entering our contest.

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