A hardstone-inlaid black lacquer dressing case
14 x 13 1/2 x 10 1/4 in, 35.6 x 34.3 x 26 cm
Of rectangular form, and inlaid in hardstones and mother-of-pearl. The front is decorated with five boys playing, one with a sheng, one with a pipe, and one with a fan and a frog, with which he teases one of the others, in a landscape; the two shorter sides with antiques; the top with a bird in a magnolia tree and a butterfly hovering above; and the foot with dragons and flowers. The cover lifts to reveal a shelf, and the doors open to reveal four drawers; the long drawer and the shelf are decorated with fruit and floral sprays, and the three short drawers are inlaid in lac burgauté with trees and figures in landscapes. With brass fittings.
Formerly in a British private collection.
For large cupboards similarly inlaid in hardstones in the technique known as Zhou work, and bearing similar decoration of boys at play, see Clunas, Chinese Furniture, no. 82, pp. 93–4, one of a pair of cupboards in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum; Hu, Collections of the Palace Museum: Inlaid Furniture, no. 177, p. 259; and Luzzato-Bilitz, Oriental Lacquer, no. 40, the other cupboard of the pair in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Note also an inlaid huanghuali dressing case of this form and with related decoration in Evarts, Liang Yi Collection: Small Objects, no. 47, pp. 90–1.