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.