Anhui and She-hsien, in particular, had been the center of the ink-making industry since T'ang times (618-906). The son of a prosperous Anhui merchant, Ch'eng Ta-yueh immersed himself in the design and production of ink cakes from an early age. Genuine ink cakes by Ch'eng are extremely rare and signed lacquer presentation boxes by him are almost unheard of. Decorated on the exterior with a boating scene, this circular box would have originally held a round commemorative ink cake. Inside the cover and on the base are three gold lacquer seals of the workshop of Ch'eng Chun-fang, a well-known art name of Ch'eng Ta-Yueh. They read, "Made under the supervision of Chun-fang from Yen-chen in old She (Hui-chou)."