Based upon a Middle-Eastern form. The lower section with openings for ink or writing accoutrements. The exterior of the bottom section is decorated with two pairs of rampant dragons chasing a flaming pearl, amidst cloud and flame scrolls. The top section, is decorated with a full-faced four-clawed dragon situated above a primordial sea, with rockery and a glimpse of mythical mollusk with dragon-like features, holding a flaming pearl. Very finely painted in bright enamels. The underfoot has a grooved inner edge to the foot rim, all slip-washed.
Length: 8 ¼ inches (21 cm)
Ex: Ralph M. Chait Galleries (1968)
Ex Collection: Carlos Franzero, England
Note: Penboxes of this type are very rare and in the Qing dynasty mostly all from the Kangxi period. Famille Verte/ Biscuit decorated examples (few in number) are known with similar and related Dragon decoration. One very similar penbox with dragons, and another with phoenixes from the Qing Court Collection are in the Palace Museum, Beijing. Other related examples include one in the Worch (and later Jie Rui Tang) Collection and another from the Collection of Sir Alfred Beit, England (mid-1900s). A similar penbox in color and form, but with butterfly decoratoin is in the Victoria & Albert Museum (Salting collection, acc. 1910).