A huanghuali six post canopy bed (jiazichuang), 17th century. Photo courtesy Sotheby's
the wide rectangular mitered frame with a soft-mat sleeping surface, the underside with a pair of bowed stretchers and four corner braces, supported on a recessed waist above a straight apron on four beaded legs of square section ending in hoof feet, the six square section and concave beaded posts joined with five openwork panels of archaistic design comprised of three horizontal sections, a central dragon roundel flanked by further chilong, a chilong andlingzhi below and a small ovoid decorative brace containing a single floral bloom above, the posts also joined by at the top by a conforming canopy. Height 84 in., 213.4 cm; Width 87 5/8 in., 222.6 cm; Depth 62 in., 157.5 cm. Estimate 400,000 — 600,000 US
Provenance: Manfred Schoeni, Hong Kong
Note: Intact six post canopy beds are extremely rare. A very similar canopy bed with cabriole legs was exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and is illustrated in Nancy Berliner, Beyond the Screen: Chinese Furniture of the 16th and 17th Centuries, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Catalogue, 1996, pp. 122-124, no. 16. Another closely related example, from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, was sold at Christie's, New York, 19th September 1996, lot 62.
For further discussion on the evolution and decoration of canopy beds see Sarah Handler, Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture, Berkeley, California, 2005, chapter 4, pp. 67-105. In addition refer to Jonathan Hay, Sensuous Surfaces, The Decorative Object in Early Modern China, London, 2010, pp. 289-295 in which the author describes the social context and sumptuous setting to which these elaborate forms belong.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. New York | 17 Sep 2013 - http://www.sothebys.com