Lot 6008. A pair of huanghuali low back arm chairs, Meiguiyi, 17th-18th century; 35 x 23 3/8 x 17 7/8in and 35 1/4 x 23 3/8 x 17 7/8in (88.8 x 59.3 x 45.5cm and 89.4 x 59.3 x 45.5cm). Estimate US$ 100,000 - 150,000 (€90,000 - 130,000). Sold for US$ 413,000 (€ 330,585). Photo: Bonhams.

Each rounded corner top rail and arm rests hidden mortise and tenoned to the stiles which run through the seat to become the front and back legs, the back apron elegantly carved with key fret and beaded borders resting on a horizontal stretcher tenoned to the back rails and front posts and to the seat by two pillar-form struts, the seat of standard mitre, mortise-and-tenon construction with exposed tenons on the sides and drilled for a soft seat with two transverse stretchers and tongue and grooved and butt-joined to the shaped and beaded apron extending down the sides of the front rails and resting on the horizontal foot rest, the plain, high u-shaped side and back aprons set above the stepped stretchers with exposed tenons. 

Provenance: Grace Wu Bruce, purchased 2 April 1999.


NotesCompare to similar examples in Chen Zenghui op. cit., no 17 and Clunas, no. 30.

Robert Jacobson writes that low back arm chairs had their antecedent in the Song period with chairs made from one piece of bamboo where the back and side panels shared the same height. He notes that the term meiguiyi has a feminine association in North China, while this form has been called wenyi on the central coast. See Robert D. Jacobsen with Nick Grindley, Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Chicago: Paragon Publishing, 1999, no. 15, 16, 17 and 18, commentary on page 66. See also Sarah Handler. "Roses, bamboo and the Lowback Armchair," Orientations, Vol 29, No.7, July/August 1998.

For related examples see, Sotheby's, Hong Kong, Sale 12555, Lot 3249, 1 June, 2016 and 7 October, 2015, the Dr. S Y Yip Collection, lot 128; see as well an example with a more elaborate backsplat offered as lot 3367 in Guardian's sale of 21 May 2011.

Bonhams. A TASTE FOR THE REMARKABLE. The John and Celeste Fleming collection of Chinese Furniture and Works of Art, 10:00 EDT - NEW YORK