Entre 1600 et 1644
Bois (matériau), Laque, Nacre
H. 71.8 x l. 95.2 x P. 63.6 cm
M.C. 9932 A
Donation sous réserve d'usufruit, Brunau, Simone

These coffers (MC 9932 a and c), without feet, are set on bases opening with French-style doors (MC. 9932 b and d). The front of the coffers, in black lacquered wood, features a phoenix with spread tail, perched on a rock from which flowering bushes spring, the whole design created with incrustations of large fragments of mother-of-pearl. A floral design on the bases echoes this decoration. A slim floral band surrounds the facades of these small cupboards. This detail does not appear on the coffers themselves.
Although these items of furniture were acquired in Beijing in the early 20th century, they were made in southern China, possibly in Jiangxi province.
The lacquer inlay technique (luodian) appeared in the Tang period (618-907) and was used in different manners under the following dynasties. A treatise entitled Gegu yaolun (1387) discussed the subject. In the final decades of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), this technique of lacquer inlaid with mother-of-pearl was particularly prized by connoisseurs.
A large armchair dating from the 16th or early 17th century, formerly in the C.T. Loo collection, features a design of small flowers identical to that of these boxes.
The same technique was used in Korea. Two cupboards decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay and bands of small flowers on the side, thought to date from the 15th century, are in the Tōgandō collection in Kyōto.

Reference(s) : Gilles Béguin, Activités du musée Cernuschi, Arts asiatiques, 1997, t.52, p.133-134
Cécile et Michel Beurdeley, Le Mobilier chinois, Fribourg, Office du Livre/ Paris, Vilo, 1979, p.114 ; p.116, fig. 158
Les Trésors de la Rive Gauche: Galeries d'art et antiquaires, vol.9, Récentes acquisitions 2004, 2004,
Bonhams et Butterfields, Asian decorative Art (vente San Francisco, 5 oct.2004),p.27, 64, n°4196
Alexandra Munroe, "David Kidd: Collector, Writer, Master Orientalist", Orientations, 1998, vol. 29, n°3, p. 108
Gilles Béguin (dir.), Art chinois, Musée Cernuschi, acquisitions 1993-2004, ParisMusées/Editions Findakly, 2005, p. 136-137