Monochrome | Important Chinese Art

Monochrome | Important Chinese Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 235. A zitan three-shelf bookcase, Shujia, Early Qing dynasty |  清初 紫檀三層帶抽屜大書架.

A zitan three-shelf bookcase, Shujia, Early Qing dynasty | 清初 紫檀三層帶抽屜大書架

Auction Closed

November 2, 04:07 PM GMT


100,000 - 150,000 GBP

Lot Details


A zitan three-shelf bookcase, Shujia

Early Qing dynasty

清初 紫檀三層帶抽屜大書架

177.5 by 105.4 by 45.6 cm, 69⅞ by 41½ by 18 in.

This lot contains endangered species. Sotheby's recommends that buyers check with their own government regarding any importation requirements prior to placing a bid. For example, US regulations restrict or prohibit the import of certain items to protect wildlife conservation. Please note that Sotheby's will not assist buyers with the shipment of this lot to the US. A buyer's inability to export or import these lots cannot justify a delay in payment or sale cancellation. 此編號含有瀕臨絕種物料。蘇富比建議買家在投標之前,先理解有關地方政府的入口限制。如美國為保護野生動物而對有關材質所實行的出入口規條及限制。蘇富比將不會協助此編號運往美國的運輸。買家無權因為未能得到出入口許可而取消拍賣及延遲付款。
The highly esteemed material of zitan (red sandalwood) makes this large piece of furniture a luxuriant possession. Perhaps the most highly prized timber in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, zitan is exceptional for its colour and lustre, which, after long exposure, develops a subtle, appealing, natural purplish-black sheen. The wood is extremely dense and durable, with a fine and subtly variegated grain. Because of the long growth period of the trees, it became a scarce material by the Qing period, so that sizeable objects made of zitan became more and more rare and expensive. Zitan shelving units, such as the present piece, might have been used for treasured books and antiques in an affluent, scholarly household.


Wang Shixiang, one of the major experts in Chinese furniture, had in his collection a closely related pair of bookcases, each shelf also enclosed by a lattice work gallery with conjoined double-ring struts, but made in huanghuali wood, the drawers carved with a slightly different design of hornless dragons in relief and attributed to the Ming dynasty. One of his bookcases is illustrated in Wang Shixiang, Classic Chinese Furniture – Ming and Early Qing Dynasties, London, 1986, pl. 131, where the author-collector comments that 'the good proportions and the tasteful decoration endow the shelves with a lightness and a beauty that are quite outstanding'.