A PAIR OF HUANGHUALI RECTANGULAR CORNER-LEG TABLES, TIAOZHUO MING DYNASTY, EARLY 17TH CENTURY | 明十七世紀初 黃花梨如意角牙馬蹄足四平條桌成對
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION 重要私人珍藏
Property from an Important Collection
A PAIR OF HUANGHUALI RECTANGULAR CORNER-LEG TABLES, TIAOZHUO
MING DYNASTY, EARLY 17TH CENTURY
each of simianping, 'four sides flush' form, the top panel set within a rectangular frame above a plain beaded apron, all raised on four straight legs of square section, beaded along the inside edge ending in hoof feet, joined to the apron at each corner by ruyi-shaped scrollwork spandrels
120.5 by 62.7 by h. 87.2 cm, 47 ½ by 24 ¾ by h. 34 ¼ in.
In good overall condition. Part of the spandrels restored or replaced. One table with signs of restoration to the round corners and hoof feet. The other with restoration to the feet.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.
Peter Lai Antiques, Hong Kong, 10th April 1990.
This elegant pair of tables exemplifies the ingenuity of Ming carpenters, who developed sophisticated joinery techniques to create tables that could support heavy loads with the minimum use of material. The restrained elegance of these tables is achieved through their simianping, or ‘four corner’s flush’, construction where the legs are set flush to the table top, and joined by carved spandrels that add stability and strength. This design, which first emerged in the Song dynasty (960-1279), was considered one of the most attractive furniture designs in the Ming period.
Narrow rectangular tables with legs at the four corners (zhuo) were some of the most versatile types of furniture, ubiquitous in every Ming households. Woodblock printed illustrations depicts them being used in numerous different ways, according to different needs and contexts. They are commonly depicted in bedrooms and used as writing desks or for informal meals, against the side walls of reception halls where flowers or other tasteful objects were displayed, as well as for formal dining. In such occasions, they were generally fitted with textile frontals, as in a Ming dynasty woodblock illustration of the drama Fen Xiang ji [A record of burning incense], illustrated in Craig Clunas, Chinese Furniture, London, 1988, fig. 34.
A table of very similar design, was sold in our New York rooms, 25th April 1987, lot 527; and a lute table with scroll-shaped spandrels, illustrated in Wang Shixiang, Classic Chinese Furniture. Ming and Early Qing Dynasties, London, 1986, pl. 188. A waistless table of similar proportions, from the collection of Mr and Mrs P. Piccus, was sold at Christie’s New York, 18th September 1997, lot 17, and again, 21st September 2000, lot 35; and one fashioned from zitan wood, illustrated in Grace Wu Bruce, Ming Furniture, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 3, was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 28th November 2012, lot 2040