Lot 89. A fine huanghuali document box with baitong mounts, xiaoxiang, Qing dynasty, 17th-18th century; 6 7/8 x 14 1/4 x 8 1/4in (17.5 x 36.3 x 21cm). Sold for US$20,400 (Estimate: US$12,000 - US$15,000). © Bonhams 2001-2023
The rectangular box with superbly figured wood top, sides and interior fitted tray, carved with a molded edge at the top and bottom sections and inlaid at the front with a foliate baitong lockplate and a cloud-shaped hasp, the sides reinforced at the edges with baitong strips running the length of each corner under flush-fitted cloud-shaped brackets on the four top edges, the lower section fitted at the sides with square-shaped bail handles with floral etched backplates and striking plate.
The Mary and Cheney Cowles Collection
Provenance: Ever Arts, Hong Kong, 1 March 1989.
Note: Document boxes were a necessity for a learned elite, and often fashioned from rare woods. The current lot, which has its interior tray, is constructed from the finest huanghuali with brilliant grain and fitted with baitong mounts, indicating an early Qing date.
For two examples constructed from finely grained timber, but with huangtong mounts, see one sold at Sotheby's New York from the Irving Collection, 10 September 2019, lot 49, and another at Christie's Hong Kong, 28 November 2017, lot 2969.
Bonhams. THE MARY AND CHENEY COWLES COLLECTION OF CLASSICAL CHINESE FURNITURE, 20 March 2023, New York