Measuring just 6in (15cm) across, it opens to reveal compartments for brushes and ink blocks. Although unmarked, this diminutive scholar’s object was thought to date to the late years of the Qianlong (1735-96) period or that of his successor Jaiqing (1796-1820).
It was not the only flyer at the Haslemere sale. Estimated at £80-120 but sold at £9500 was a 7½in (18cm) Republican period dish finely painted in enamels with a luohan resting under a tree.
Those who translated the signature and seal will have found the artist to be the celebrated Jingdezhen decorator Wang Bu (1898-1968).
It was his work in underglaze blue and white decoration, that earned him, in his later years, the title of qinghua dawang (the king of blue and white).
However, he created numerous works with overglaze enamels including those produced in the period both during and after the war with Japan when there was a scarcity of cobalt.
The sale took place on April 24.