Huanghuali stationery box

Huanghuali stationery box

Late Ming to Qing dynasty 17th – 18th century

Length: 9 7/8 inches, 25 cm
Width: 5 1/2 inches, 14 cm
Height: 3 3/4 inches, 8.5 cm

A rectangular box made of huanghuali, the straight sides with gently rounded corners and the cover with a slightly domed top. The horizontal edges of both box and cover are carved with a beaded lip. The well-polished exterior has acquired a beautiful patina.


Small, undecorated lidded boxes made from precious hardwoods were widely appreciated for their simplicity during the Ming and Qing dynasties. They served well on the scholar’s desk or any part of the household, where small items were stored. This box is a fine example in its reliance on well- figured wood grain for visual effect. Its beaded edges (qibianxian) not only serve as decoration but also have the practical function of increasing the surface area where the rims meet, thus making the box more durable.[1] It employs no reinforcing hardware and allows for the dovetail joints to be visible on the exterior, showing the careful joinery with highly aesthetic effect.[2] A rectangular huanghuali box, with comparable undecorated sides, beaded lips and dated to the late 16th to early 17th century, is in the Dr. S. Y. Yip collection. It is catalogued as an inkstone box due to traces of ink, attesting to the usage of this box.[3] Another example of a huanghuali stationery box in square form, dated to the 18th century, is in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.[4]


1 Yip, Sing Yiu and Bruce, G. Wu, Chan Chair and Qin Bench- The Dr. S. Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture II, Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1998, p. 172
2 Jacobsen, R. D. etc. Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 1999, p. 206
3 Yip, Sing Yiu and Bruce, G. Wu, op. cit. no. 58, p. 172
4 Jacobsen, R. D. etc. op. cit. no. 77, p. 206


晚明至清 十七 – 十八世紀
長:25 公分 寬:14 公分 高:8.5 公分
黃花梨長方形文具盒,木紋清晰,榫卯相接,周身光素無紋,僅扣闔處起線裝飾,突顯出黃花梨木質 紋裡之精細。四角圓潤,包漿自然,造型簡潔,端莊大方。香港攻玉山房藏有一件黃花梨長方硯盒,定年十六世紀末至十七世紀初作品。美國明尼阿波利斯美術館則藏有一件十八世紀黃花梨方形盒。