An identical rectangular 'dragon and phoenix' box, also inscribed with a Wanli cyclical Renchen date, is in the Beijing Palace Museum collection, illustrated in Lacquer Wares of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Commercial Press, Hong Kong, 2006, p. 207, no. 164 (fig. 1).
The custom of applying reign marks to lacquer wares appears to have begun in the Yongle reign, when six-character reign marks were sometimes scratched, with the use of a fine point, into the base of lacquer items. Reign marks of the Xuande reign set the standard for future Ming dynasty reigns, being composed of six characters boldly carved into the base or side and filled with gold. However, during the latter half of the Wanli reign the use of eight-character cyclical marks, like the mark on the current box, became popular. The earliest published Wanli cyclical date on a lacquer item is equivalent to AD 1585, but the majority of lacquer wares bearing cyclical marks date to the 1590's. A number of pieces bear the yiwei date, corresponding to AD 1595, as seen on a related polychrome lacquer rectangular box sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 May 2008, lot 1563.