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Details & Cataloguing

Ming Furniture – The Dr S Y Yip Collection

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Hong Kong

A PAIR OF HUANGHUALI ROUND-CORNER TAPERED CABINETS ON STANDS, YUANJIAOGUI
LATE MING DYNASTY
each cabinet top of standard mitre, mortise and tenon, tongue-and-grooved floating panel construction with one dovetailed transverse brace underneath, the edge of the frame beginning and ending in a narrow flat band with exposed tenons on the short sides, the four main stiles double-tennoned into the top with one tenon exposed, rounded on the outside and squared on the inside, beaded along the edge between the stiles and the side panels and doors, the inner sides of the doors of standard mitred frame construction, the outside stiles finishing on extended dowels fitting into sockets in the underside of the frame top and the horizontal shaped stretcher that is mortised and tennoned into the main stiles below the doors, the single-board floating panels with four dovetailed transverse braces tennoned into the door frame, the door frame fitted with curved and shaped rectangular huangtong plates with square lock receptacles and shaped door pulls, the interior of the cabinet with one removable shelf resting on the dovetailed transverse braces of the side panels as well as one lower section constituting a shelf and two drawers with huangtong plates and pulls, a shaped stretcher resting below the doors with a plain straight apron beneath, extending to ear-shaped mitred spandrels, tongue-and-grooved into the legs and butt-joined to the underside of the stretcher, the stand with a lipped-edged top of mitred, mortised and tennoned frame construction with a recessed tongue-and-grooved panel supported by one dovetailed stretcher underneath, the slightly splayed legs double tennoned to the top, the two drawers at the top and the shelf at the bottom with beaded edges and cloud-shaped aprons below, the side spandrelled aprons left plain
186 by 80.5 by 47 cm., 73 1/4  by 31 5/8  by 18 1/2  in.
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Exhibited

The Dr. S. Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture, The Macao Museum of Art, Macau, 2003.
Grace Wu Bruce, Feast by a wine table reclining on a couch: The Dr. S. Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture III, Art Museum, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2007, cat. no. 27, p. 88-91.
Grace Wu Bruce, Grace Wu Bruce presents a choice selection of Ming Furniture from the Dr. S. Y. Yip collections, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, 2012, p. 38-39.

Literature

Grace Wu Bruce, Two Decades of Ming Furniture, Beijing, 2010, p. 223.
Grace Wu Bruce, Ming Furniture Through My Eyes, Beijing, 2015, p. 227.

Catalogue Note

"Grace always says that sloping stile cabinets sets the standard for Ming furniture craftsmanship. Extant pairs are rare and ones on their original stands are even rarer. Even the metal plates and pulls are all original, and the wood display the wonderful patterns of good huanghuali wood."

One of the most ingenious and beautiful designs of classic Chinese furniture is the round-corner tapered, wood-hinged cabinet. The four main stiles are recessed from the corner of the top and slope gently outward in a subtle, almost imperceptible splay. This simple design feature gives the cabinet its refined elegance and a sense of balance and stability. The doors, with extended dowels on both ends, fit into sockets in the cabinet frame members and act as hinges. Free from the necessity of applied hinges, the clean lines of the cabinet are not interfered with.

Round-corner tapered wood-hinged cabinets placed on stands may have been used exclusively in damp regions like the Jiangnan area, accounting in part for their rarity. Extant examples of pairs of round-corner tapered wood hinged cabinets on stands are exceedingly rare with only one published example to-date, a slightly shorterpair exhibited at Splendor of Style: Classical Furniture from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, National Museum of History, Taipei, 1999, pp. 160-161.

Ming Furniture – The Dr S Y Yip Collection

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Hong Kong