Boxes of this quality and carved with this motif were produced at the Lacquer Workshops of the Zaobanchu (Imperial Palace Workshop), located in the Forbidden City. They are often inscribed with a Qianlong reign mark at the foot and under the cover with a descriptive mark, as seen on this piece. A smaller box of this type in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is illustrated in East Asian Lacquer. The Florence and Herbert Irving Collection, New York, 1991, p. 108, pl. 108, where the authors suggest that ‘the description probably corresponded to the entry for the box in the inventory of articles in the imperial household’.
A closely related box was sold in these rooms, 27th October 1989, lot 177; and two were sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, the first, 16th January 1989, lot 347, and the second, 27th October 2003, lot 785. Compare also a smaller Qianlong mark and period box carved with this design, but inscribed under the cover with the characters yunlong baohe (cloud-and-dragon treasure box), in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Gugong bowuyuan cang diaoqi [Carved lacquer in the Palace Museum], Beijing, 1985, pl. 316; and another sold at Christie’s New York, 18th September 2003, lot 79.
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