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Bamboo Stationery Box in the Shape of a Table with Books (Wenzhu qianyu kangjishi wenjuhe)

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Period: mid Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: bamboo veneer with jade, copper ornaments
Dimensions: height: 28.5 cm, length: 30.1 cm, width: 13.2 cm

Qing court stationery Entirely covered by bamboo veneer, the stationery box is designed in the shape of a pile of books resting on a two-tired rectangular table, which in the Qing dynasty would typically be placed on a couch. The table has five drawers, each of which can be opened with handle in the form of a bat-shaped jade pendant attached with a copper loop. A carved apron decorates the empty space of the table's lower tier.   
  The top tier of the table supports a decorative box and a square vase in which a Ruyi sceptre is placed. The vase consists of four sections: the mouth as a lid and three separate boxes piled up. A pair of white jade animal masks decorates the shoulders of the vase. Next to it, the box is decorated with an interlocking lotus design. On the top of the box is inlaid a pale green jade ornament carved in a design of coiled hydras.   
  A slipcase of books rests on the lower tier of the table. Its surface is carved in intaglio with a background pattern of sriratsa. A green jade title panel and a stained ivory pendant are inlaid on the book case. The exterior walls of the slipcase are applied with fine bamboo strips imitating the pages of books.   This stationery box is both functional and decorative. It reflects the special beauty of artistic bamboo items.

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