When was the last time you took a moment to gaze into a panel of wood? Sound crazy?  Maybe to us, but in China from the 16th century, the scholarly elite, wealthy aristocrats, courtiers and emperors  derived great pleasure and satisfaction surveying the lively patterns and imagery produced by the grain of exotic hardwoods. From the broad expanse of a table board, a wide splat centering an imposing chair, the sweeping verticality of a massive two-door cabinet, to a small storage box, the ribbons, whorls and eddies of the densely compacted grain served as a medium inviting contemplation. The wood offering the richest, most luminous of these effects is huanghuali. Please click ahead to view some examples of this highly prized timber, which are included in The Reverend Richard Fabian Collection of Chinese Classical Furniture, which will be offered on 15 March.