MING DYNASTY, 17TH CENTURY
The cover of the box is decorated with a poem carved in relief on a horizontal diaper ground. The sides of the box and cover are carved with a bold key fret design within banded registers.
The poem has a signature and seal facsimile of Wenyuan 文元 and it reads as:
|焚膏夜讀書聞實||As oil lamp burns, read books to learn what is really so,|
|氣起春耕雨一犁||And when mists arise, do spring plowing with a single plowshare.|
Lacquer incense boxes are rarely carved with poems, but poems occasionally appear on brushes of the same period, such as one in the collection of the Tokugawa Art Museum published in Karamono: Imported Lacquerwork – Chinese, Korean and Ryukyuan (Okinawa) – Selections from the Tokugawa Art Museum No. 2, Tokugawa Art Museum 德川美術館唐物漆器－中國．朝鮮．琉球, 1997, p. 47, Catalogue No. 72
Compare a bamboo brush with a poem published in Chugoku Bijutsu no Iki: Bunbo Seika 中国美術の粋：文房精華, Tokyo, 2007, pp. 18-19, Catalogue No. 8.