After the early seventeenth century, carved lacquer was not produced again in Beijing until the Qianlong reign (1736-95) and became the major type of lacquerware produced during this time. As well as being a passionate art collector, Emperor Qianlong was an ardent poet, and published over 40,000 poems, between 1749 and 1800. He made innumerable items from his collection the subject of poetic eulogies, and this is represented in the present lot.
It is extremely rare to find a carved lacquer cabinet with depictions of flowers on each panel and accompanied by an imperial poem, and no other example appears to have been published. However, a carved lacquer brush pot with similar decoration, also dated to the Qianlong period, can be found in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 46 - Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 2006, pl. 23, p. 36., where the style of the flowers in each panel bears close resemblance to the flowers depicted on the present cabinet.
A Lacquer cabinet of almost identical size (14 1/8 in. wide) and shape, but with depictions of figures in a landscape, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and illustrated in East Asian Lacquer: The Florence and Herbert Irving Collection, New York, 1991, pl. 46, p. 112. Another is illustrated in Imperial Life in the Qing Dynasty: Treasures from the Shenyang Palace Museum, China, Singapore, 1989, p.101. Compare, also, the carved lacquer cabinet with a different handle and with a long horizontal top compartment in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - 46 - Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty, op. cit., pl. 45, p. 68.
Compare, also, a cabinet of similar shape, but with designs of antiques and precious objects sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 1 June 2011, lot 3576, and another of almost identical shape and decorated with dragons sold at Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 8 October 2009, lot 1644.