Antique Asian Works of Art from Ancient East

Zitan & Bamboo Chinese Scholarâs Box, Early 19th C.

Zitan & Bamboo Chinese Scholar’s Box, Early 19th C.

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Scholar Art: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 887016

Please refer to our stock # SCH372 when inquiring.
Ancient East
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369 Montezuma Ave., #562
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2626

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DESCRIPTION: A rectangular zitan scholar’s box with sliding lid decorated with yellow bamboo in the tiehuang technique. Such a box would be used to store various calligraphy tools that the Chinese scholar might use. The beautiful, deep black wood of the box has grooves for the sliding lid, is joined at the corners, and has a slightly beveled exterior base. Decorating the lid is a bamboo appliqué, deftly carved with two confronting curled dragons among lingzhi fungus, a Daoist symbol of immortality. Dating from the early 19th C. (if not earlier), this box is in very good condition save for a narrow missing sliver from one grooved edge. A portion of this sliver is found inside the box. The lid slides easily and fits securely with no warping. DIMENSIONS: 7 1/8” long (18 cm) x 2 ¾” wide (7 cm) x 1 ½” high (3.8 cm).

TECHNIQUE: The tiehuang (“applied yellow”) technique was first used in the 18th century, and is not commonly known outside of China. In this technique, thin layers of the pale golden inner skin of a section of bamboo stem is removed in strips or sheets, flattened under pressure, then carved and applied as an appliqué on another wood item. This enabled the bamboo carvers to break free from the circular shapes dictated by the medium.