Lot 581
  • 581


150,000 - 250,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • huanghuali wood
each with an elegantly arched crestrail flattened in the center and curving down to join the slightly backward sloping rear posts continuing through the frame to form the back legs, and a book-matched well-figured wide rectangular S-shaped splat tenoned to the underside of the yoke and into the back rail of the seat frame, the serpentine arms pipe-jointed to shaped front posts, the rectangular seat frame, with molded edge, enclosing a soft-mat seat supported underneath by a pair of bowed stretchers, the legs joined at the top by front and side humpback stretchers with cylindrical struts and a plain spandreled apron at the back, and over the feet a shaped footrest in front and by oval section stretchers on the sides and back (2)


Grace Wu Bruce, Hong Kong, 2006.

Catalogue Note

The restrained lines and minimal decoration serve to heighten the statuesque proportions and rich luster of the wood. The timber chosen for the matching back splats has whorl patterns, showing huanghuali wood at its best. The continuous yokeback armchair is one of the most classic of the scholarly Ming forms; a pair of similar armchairs with shaped aprons is illustrated in Robert D. Jacobsen and Nicholas Grindley, Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 1999, pl. 9. In discussing the form the authors conjecture that the inspiration for the continuous top and arm rails might be found in bent bamboo construction popular in the Song and Ming dynasties and cite an illustration of the Wanli period Kunqu opera The Tale of the Jade Hairpin showing a pair of speckled bamboo tall back chairs with continuous crestrails. In addition, pottery examples of this form were found in the tomb of Pan Yunzheng dated to 1589, ibid, p. 52. A pair with inlaid decoration is illustrated in Nancy Berliner, Beyond the Screen: Chinese Furniture of the 16th and 17th centuries, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1996, p. 111. For a similar but single chair in the Vok Collection, see Nicholas Grindley,  Pure Form: klassische Möbel aus China / Pure Form: Classical Chinese Furniture Vok Collection, Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst Köln, Munich, 2004, pl. 10.

A similar pair but with plain aprons, from the Richard Fabian Collection, was sold in these rooms, 15th March 2016, lot 7; and a pair of taller armchairs from the Collection of Dr. S.Y. Yip was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 7th October 2015, lot 111.