Attractive trays of this type, often referred to as ‘stationery trays’, were used by scholars to hold various implements, writing materials or small treasures including paperweights on their table. The present example, while simple in style, is elegant in form and carved decoration. For a related example, see a tray illustrated in Gerard Tsang and Hugh Moss, Arts from the Scholar’s Studio, Fung Ping Shan Museum, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1986, cat. no. 243, with a simpler reticulated gallery. Compare also a tray carved in huanghuali wood published in The Dr. S. Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture II. Chan Chair and Qin Bench, Hong Kong, 1998, pl. 40; and a smaller rectangular zitan tray, possibly made to hold brushes, sold in these rooms, 8th October 2010, lot 2214.