Jiang Qianli, who specialized in inlaid lacquer, has traditionally been dated to the late Ming period, but more recently is thought to have worked in the Kangxi period. However, inlaid lacquer wares made in his style and bearing his name continued to be made throughout the Qing dynasty.
An inscription on the cloth box reads: Ming Jian Qianli jing zhi dian he yi shuang (a pair of finely made mother-of-pearl inlaid boxes by Jiang Qianli of Ming), Chunzhai (art name of Xu Hanqing). An inscription on the label on the side of the box reads: Qing Kangxi heqi qianjin pian luodian he (box of black lacquer inlaid with gold and mother-of-pearl from the Kangxi period). An inscription inside the cover reads: written in the second month of the bingzi year, corresponding to 1936 - 'these are a pair of mother-of-pearl and gold-inlaid boxes by Jiang Qianli. The artistry of Jiang was on record by the early Qing dynasty and was repeatedly praised. Only after I obtained these boxes was I able to experience the exquisite essence of Chinese art, which cannot even be dreamed of by people today.'
Compare a pair of related egg-shaped boxes with similar decoration on the exterior and interior, dated early 17th century, illustrated by P. Moss, Emperor, Scholar, Artisan, Monk, Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, 1984, pp. 258-60, no. 116.