The method of this type of lacquer with mother-of-pearl inlays called luodian in the De Gu Yao Lun, by Cao Zhao (1388) was developped in Luling Xian, Ji'an, Jiangxi province. The artists used rather thick and large pieces of nautilus shell on which all details were engraved. The iridescence of the shell pieces lends depth to the inlay, making the decoration appear to be more like a painting.
A related nine-lobed box and cover from the collection of Sir John and Lady Figess is illustrated in Regina Krahl and Brian Morgan, From Innovation to Conformity, exhibition catalogue, Bluett and Sons, London, 1989, cat.no. 30. Another nine-sided box and cover dated from the Ming Dynasty is kept in the Lindenmuseum, Stuttgart, and published in the exhibition catalogue Laques chinois du Linden-Museum de Stuttgart, 11 avril-26 mai 1986, Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, Paris, 1986. A similarly decorated and shaped box, although from the Yuan Dynasty, has been sold at Sotheby's New York, 21st and 22nd September 2005, lot 180.