A tri-colored glazed compact from the Tang Dynasty. [Photo/Artron.net]
The oldest-known Chinese women's compacts appeared during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). They were simple and plain.
It wasn't until the Tang and Song dynasties, that compacts came to be more delicate.
During the Tang Dynasty, compacts became more widely used. Due to better porcelain making skills in this time, most of the powder boxes were made of porcelain, including green, white and brown ones.
Powder produced in the Song Dynasty was finer and was molded into different shapes and pressed with flowers. Accordingly, powder containers entered a new period with highly improved material and crafts.
Later, the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911) saw compacts made of rarer materials, such as metal, enamel, and lacquer. The patterns and decorations also became more abundant, featuring animals, people, flowers and landscapes.