They are always full of wonderful stuff - but they also have the most charming and interesting packaging. It seems like they're put together with a particular aesthetic - like they're put together with precision and care... out of whatever's at hand.
The front label is pretty uneventful. LOTS of stamps, and a misspelling - but it's pretty standard.
Stamps continue onto the side of the box.
The back label is a little more interesting - lots of stamping, and writing. The full-sheet label is glued onto the package wrapping.
This doesn't look so much like a customs statement, as a note to the postman. Maybe a special tax stamp is supposed to go here, and they had to explain.
Both of the short ends are sealed with sealing wax. LOTS of sealing wax.
Can you see that, under the wax seals, there is stitching? The whole thing is wrapped in cotton muslin. Hand stitched closed.
Stitching shows on the inside more than on the outside. Maybe it's tougher to open a stitched parcel and get away with it?
Inside, the actual box is made of wood. Surprisingly light, it is apparent that at least the large flat pieces have had previous lives.
It's put together with nails. Three different sizes of tiny nails.
Inside, nestled in a bed of rough cotton-wool, is what I REALLY wanted to see - Tasar cocoons! The real deal, complete with peduncles.
These are really handsome ones. The veiny-looking outer surface of the cocoon, is specific to this species - the caterpillar chews up tree bark and mixes it with silk to make the rings and this tough outer layer.
The peduncles are designed to hold the cocoon to the twig it's spun on. They look like little leather lassos - or actually, like little curettes.
When people say that Tasar cocoons are "as big as a hen's egg," they're not just making it up. This is a Grade A Large egg, but I bet if it were a Medium, the cocoon could kick its butt. It's about as tall, just not quite as wide.