Bookcases and open-shelf stands are referred to as shujia or shuge, the basic forms of which are discussed by Wang Shixiang, Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture, Hong Kong, 1995, p. 82, D1-3. Important features of any scholar's studio, bookcases were a symbol of culture and education. Open-shelving fulfilled two roles, as it allowed scholars to create elegant displays of scholar's objects and also functioned for storage of albums and books.
Compare a four-shelf bookcase of similar size (180.4 cm. high) currently in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and illustrated by R. D. Jacobsen and N. Grindley, Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 1999, pp. 142-43, no. 49. Similar to the present example, the bookcase in Minneapolis has the added decorative touch of an openwork gallery, constructed from wumu. See, also, another example illustrated by Wang Shixiang, ibid. p. 142, D6, where the galleries are elaborately carved with cruciform-latticework.