Although the present lot belongs to a distinct group of Yuan lacquer boxes with lobed sides and pewter trim, it is highly unusual in its oval cross-section shape measuring 19 cm. long and 7 cm. high. Two similar lobed boxes are published in Hai-Wai Yi-Chen, Chinese Art in Overseas Collections, Lacquerware, National Palace Museum, 1987. The first box, in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, also formed with twelve lobes but considerably larger in size (35.9 cm. long and 10.8 cm. high) is illustrated, op. cit., 1987, p. 53, no. 51; and a smaller box of eight lobes (21.9 cm. long and 7.8 cm. high), is in the Detroit Institute of Arts, p. 54, no. 52.
Many examples of this type of box are of larger and taller shape, such as the one illustrated by J. Watt and B. Ford, East Asian Lacquer, The Florence and Herbert Irving Collection, New York, 1991, pl. 3. The Irving box also holds a shallow tray with its mouth rim resting on the flanges of the mouth of the box. It has been suggested that this particular form was most probably adapted from contemporaneous silverware, ibid, p. 44.