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140

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION

A RARE HUANGHUALI FOLDING STOOL, JIAOWU
17TH CENTURY
JUMP TO LOT
140

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION

A RARE HUANGHUALI FOLDING STOOL, JIAOWU
17TH CENTURY
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Monochrome

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Hong Kong

A RARE HUANGHUALI FOLDING STOOL, JIAOWU
17TH CENTURY
constructed with beaded-edged curvilinear shaped seat rails carved with confronting chilong drilled for a woven seat, the round legs mortised, tennoned and lapped to the seat rails and base stretchers, hinged by metal rods passing through holes in their centre and secured on both sides by chrysanthemum-shaped metal plates, reinforced by rectangular plates with ruyi heads, a rectangular footrest mortised and tennoned to a pair of legs and base stretcher, metal straps with ruyi heads added for reinforcements on where the four legs, base stretcher and leg-seat rail join
54.2 by 57 by 43 cm, 21 1/4  by 22 3/8  by 16 7/8  in.
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Provenance

Christie's Hong Kong, 31st October 1994, lot 413.

Catalogue Note

As conveniently lightweight and comfortable seats, folding stools such as the current example were popular in the Ming dynasty among travelling scholars and military officials. This design derives from prototypes known since the Han dynasty, when folding stools were imported by nomadic tribes from Central Asia and popularised by Emperor Lingdi (AD 168-189), who was fascinated by the foreign portable seat. The folding stool appears to be the first elevated type of seat in China, predating the emergence of the rigid frame chair (see Gustav Ecke, 'The Development of the Folding Chair. Notes on the History of the Form of the Eurasian Chair', Journal of the Classical Chinese Furniture Society, vol. 1, no. 1 (Winter, 1990), pp. 11-21). The woodblock print illustration to Lienü Zhuan [Biography of women in ancient China] by Ming dynasty painter Qiu Ying shows an attendant carrying a folding stool behind his master on horseback, suggesting their usage as travelling seats as well as stools for alighting from horses (fig. 1).

Compare a similar stool illustrated in Wang Shixiang, Classic Chinese Furniture, London, 1986, pl. 31; one carved with chilong on the upper members, illustrated in Karen Mazurkewich, Chinese Furniture. A Guide to Collecting Antiques, Rutland, 2006, pl. 154; another from the collection of Robert H. Ellsworth, sold at Christie’s New York, 17th March 2015, lot 40; a stool, carved with a floral scroll and lacking the lozenge pattern on the foot rest, in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, illustrated in Robert D. Jacobsen, Classical Chinese Furniture, Minneapolis, 1999, pl. 1; another published in Grace Wu, The Best of the MQJ Collection of Ming Furniture, Beijing, 2017, vol. 2, p. 292; and a slightly larger example, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 29th November 2012, lot 2008. See also a slightly smaller and undecorated stool, from the collection of Dr S.Y. Yip, sold in these rooms, 7th October 2015, lot 131.

Monochrome

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Hong Kong