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Chinese boxes are a set of boxes of graduated size, each fitting inside the next larger box.
A traditional style in Chinese design, nested boxes have proved a popular packaging option in the West for novelty or display reasons.
The Russian matryoshka doll is a modern interpretation of this form.
As with the above example, such Chinese nested boxes have inspired similar forms of packaging around the world, but also have found use as a figurative description, providing an illustrative example to demonstrate situations of conceptually nested or recursive arrangements.
In literature a Chinese box structure refers to a frame narrative, a novel or drama that is told in the form of a narrative inside a narrative (and so on), giving views from different perspectives. Examples include Plato's dialogue Symposion, Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein, Jostein Gaarder's The Solitaire Mystery, and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
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