The inscriptions point to this being a traditional Chinese pharmacy. One phrase at the very back of the shop reads "In this shop [you may find] all types of dietary remedies, and acupuncture and moxibustion". Merchants' shops and shop interiors were a popular subject matter in 19th Century Chinese paintings produced for the export market in Canton, where they obviously represented graphic and amusing souvenirs of a Westerner's trip to the exotic East. However it is rare to find a three-dimensional scale model such as the present lot; they are more commonly depicted in gouache and watercolour. For such paintings, see Carl L. Crossman, op.cit., colour pl.23 (a hat maker's shop), colour pl.60 (a porcelain shop), colour pl.61 (a silk shop), colour pl.124 (a pewter shop), and pl.138 (a bamboo furniture shop). Further shop scenes in gouache on paper were exhibited in 'The China Trade: Romance and Reality', De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1979, Catalogue, p.41 (lacquerware shop), p.42 A-D (bamboo furniture, porcelain, Chinese furniture, and western furniture shops). See also lot 141 in this sale for other gouaches painted on high-quality rag paper, rather than the cheaper and more fragile pithpaper. It is interesting to compare also the lacquered wood birdcage in the form of a Chinese house, illustrated by Patrick Conner, The China Trade, 1600-1860, p.129, no.174, which is in The Royal Pavilion Art Gallery and Museums, Brighton.