A large hongmu box and cover with a single board top with two hidden tenoned transverse stretchers. The lower edge of the rising top has a recessed lip that locates into a similar lip to the upper edge of the lower section. The inlaid brass foliate lock plate has a cloud shaped hasp retained by split pins. The front and back are mitred and hidden dovetailed to the sides down to the two board tieli-mu base which is tongue and grooved into the inside edge of the vertical boards with two transverse stretchers hidden tenoned into the front and back. The top is pegged into the edge of the vertical members and inlaid with cloud shaped brass corners, as are the corners to the front back and sides of the upper section and lower section. Each side is mounted with brass C shaped handles with circular striking plate and backplanes and two backplanes to a connecting chain, all retained by split pins as are the inlaid back hinges. All the metalwork except the handles is replaced.
Qing dynasty, 18th century.
The arrangement of the metalwork on this box is unusual with cloud scroll motifs to the front sides and back and to both upper and lower section. A more typical arrangement is to be found on a similar huanghuali box illustrated on page 113 of The Dr. S. Yip collection of Classic Chinese Furniture 1991.
Nicholas Grindley, March 2009 / 9