QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
The concave covered box is carved in the form of a ‘qin’ 琴 and inscribed with a couplet which reads:
|交朋會友貞賢是與||Form associations and make friends, let this be with the faithful and worthy,|
|閉門靜居琴書自娛||Shut the gate and dwell in quietude, and enjoy oneself with zither and books.|
The first line comes from the Eastern Han era memorial stele Yinzhou bei 尹宙碑 dated to 177, dedicated to Yin Zhou, and the second from the memorial stele Lu Jun bei 魯峻碑, dedicated to Lu Jun (112-172), whose office was the Director of Retainers (sili xiaowei 司隸校尉), dated 173.
The combination of the couplet is attributed to Huang Yi 黄易 (1744-1802) who wrote the same eight-character couplet in clerical script 隸書 八言聯 in ink on golden-flecked paper 洒金紙本 which was dated to 1793.
Huang Yi was a native of Hangzhou, landscape painter, calligrapher and a major seal carver of his day and was one of the Eight Masters of Xiling 西泠八家. He was also a prominent collector of inscriptions on metal and stone, the collected rubbings of which were published in the Xiao Penglai ge jinshi wenzi 小蓬萊閣金石文字 (Scripts and Characters on Metal and Stone from the Little Penglai [Isles of the Immortals] Pavilion) (Woodblock edition of 1800), in five stitched volumes ( 五冊).
The bamboo is patinated to a warm caramel tone.