Made Nowhere

This is the pattern on my compact case, a case with no powder. Its opens up like a clamshell to reveal two mirrors inside, one round; another, square. I’ve never used it to apply any rouge, blush, or eyeliner.

But I’ve had it for a long time. And I keep it on my desk.

Perhaps because it’s been with me forever—or so it seems—I’ve never taken the time to notice the beautiful artwork on it, until M. commented on it.

Reflexively, I turned it over in my palm to see if the underside had a label that said where it was made. The surface has a smooth, reddish-brown quartz finish, but oddly, no manufacturer’s logo, seal, or etching.

It was a gift from my mom after she and dad returned from a trip to China in 2000. She gave it to me as is, without a box. I didn’t get around to asking her if she’d bought it, and if so, where.

Yet, it doesn’t look remotely like a product made in a Chinese factory. Rather, it wears an aura of a vintage Oriental artifact.

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