|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 and is joined at the corners. 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. 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.