A huanghuali rectangular tray made of four lengths of wood joined together with a thick panel. The tray is supported on a low, splayed footrim, which forms in bracket shapes around the corners of the base. The round corners show the dovetail joints. The tray is completely plain, showing the strongly-figured grain of the wood.
The elegance of undecorated wood, particularly the range of hardwoods most favoured by the Chinese, is well demonstrated here. The beautifully grained huanghuali wood is highly appreciated for its richly variegated orange and brown colouring, its swirling markings known as ‘ghost’s faces’ in Chinese, and evocative patterns. This tray of small size might have once been used as a stationery tray, or as an incense tray (xian pan), which would normally hold incense utensils for ceremonial processions. A lobed tray similarly made of huanghuali wood, dated to the late 16th to early 17th century, is in the Dr. S. Y. Yip collection. Two further comparable hardwood trays made of jichimu are illustrated in Wood from the Scholar’s Table: one of lobed form is dated to the early 19th century; the other of oval form is dated to the 18th century. An oval huanghuali incense tray, used together with wood incense utensils, was formerly in the Jiansong Ge collection.
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. no. 40, p.138
2 Piccus, R. P. ed. Wood from the Scholar’s Table: Chinese Hardwood Carvings and Scholar’s Articles, Gulliver Books, Hong Kong, 1984, no. 17
3 Huang, Xuanlong, Leisurely Appreciation- Accoutrements from the Scholar’s Studio, Jiansong Ge Collection, Taipei, no. 7513, p. 110
晚明至清 十七 – 十八世紀
長：38 公分 寬：25 公分 高：3.5 公分
黃花梨長方形盤，四圓角由榫卯相接，底承四矮足。樣式周正典雅，包漿紅潤，周身無任何雕 飾，更加凸顯黃花梨木天然紋理，盤面「鬼臉」明顯可見。此盤由於尺寸較小，除可作文具盤之 用，或者作為香盤使用承托爐、瓶、盒三件一組香具。明清時期，書齋案供以及香案、香几成為 文房清玩的典型陳設，而放置爐、瓶、盒等各種香具的香盤，其製作工藝也在這個時候到達了頂 峰。香港攻玉山房收藏一件黃花梨八角盤，臺北翦淞閣亦藏有一件黃花梨橢圓形香盤。