A Rare Mother-Of-Pearl Inlaid Black Lacquer Scholar's Table. Ming Dynasty, Wanli Period. Photo Sotheby's

top comprised of three panels within a rectangular beaded frame, above an elegantly shaped and beaded apron, raised on shaped and molded legs joined on the sides by two high stretchers and terminating in pronounced barbed and splayed feet, the black ground finely flecked overall with mother-of-pearl, the underside covered in red lacquer. Height 30 1/2 in., 77.5 cm; Length 46 in., 116.8 cm; Depth 30 1/4 in., 76.8 cm - Estimate 300,000-500,000 USD

PROVENANCE: Property of Mrs. Nelson A. Rockefeller.
Sotheby's New York, 17th March 1984, lot 543.
A European Collection.
Roger Vivier Collection.
The Rothschild Collection.
Bernard Baruch Steinitz, Paris.

LITTERATURE: Christopher Bruckner, Imperial Patronage: Treasures from Temples and Palaces, London, 2005, p. 21.

NOTE: Tables of this shape were depicted in paintings as early as the Song dynasty, such as one titled Xizhi xie zhao tu, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in The Chuang Family Bequest of Fine Ming and Qing Furniture in the Shanghai Museum, Hong Kong, 1998, p. 58 (detail). A very similar table, inscribed with a Wanli mark to the bottom, in the Qing Court collection, is illustrated in Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties: The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong 2002, vol. 53, pl. 108. A table of the same form and similarly decorated but with a red lacquer top and a Wanli reign mark was sold at Christie's New York, 15th-16th September 2011, lot 1325.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, New York | 11 sept. 2012 www.sothebys.com