Heavily lacquered softwood cabinets with such elaborate openwork designs appear to be most often ascribed to the Fujian region. The elegantly carved designs, with dragons and shou characters, and graceful sloping form suggest an early to middle Qing date. Cabinets such as the present example may exhibit openwork carving on three sides for functional reasons in addition to being highly decorative, and may have been used for the storage of books or textiles as the openwork design would eliminate the buildup of condensation which may occur on the interior of a solid cabinet. Thus, cabinets of this type are often found in scholarly studios as repositories for prized texts or cherished objects.
A similar style of carving can be seen on a 17th century huanghuali square-corner cabinet with latticework doors and 'cracked ice' sides, illustrated by Sarah Handler in Austere Luminosity of Chinese Classical Furniture, London, 2001, p. 258, fig. 15.19.