A huanghuali rectangular kang table (kangzhuo), 17th century. Photo courtesy Sotheby's
the mitered frame, inset with two panels, with beaded edge above a narrow recessed waist and apron of arched, curvilinear form with beaded edge, continuing onto cabriole legs of square section terminating in cloud-scrolled feet, the underside with three transverse stretchers. Height 12 1/2 in., 32 cm; Width 38 1/2 in., 98 cm; Depth 24 3/8 in., 62 cm. Estimate 30,000 — 50,000 USD
Provenance: Manfred Schoeni, Hong Kong.
Note: The present table derives from the earliest form of Chinese furniture; the platform. Early hierarchies were visually established by means of literally higher seating. Over time, as seating and tables evolved, the kang, still a form largely associated with the colder northern climates as it was placed above a platform of heated bricks, remained much the same; an indispensable platform of varying size placed on day, couch and canopy beds for drinking, dining, playing board games, reading and writing among other things. Kang embrace a wide stylistic range from plain rectilinear to dynamically curved and ornamented.
The seminal Ming dynasty carpenter's manual Lu Ban jing comments on the particular type of dynamic curvilinear apron seen on the present example. The book uses the term leishui huaya (carved like water) to help guide artisans towards the fluid rippling that may be observed on scrolling, rhythmic lines along the apron of the present table.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. New York | 17 Sep 2013 - http://www.sothebys.com