A rare huanghuali square corner-leg table, fangzhuo, late Ming dynasty, 17th century

Lot 4074. A rare huanghuali square corner-leg table, fangzhuo, late Ming dynasty, 17th century, 34 1/4 in. (86.7 cm.) high x 38 3/8 in. (97.6 cm.) square. Estimate HKD 800,000 - HKD 1,200,000Price realised HKD 1,940,000© Christie's Images Ltd 2012

The square three-panel top is set within the square frame with a thumb-grooved edge supported on cylindrical legs. The legs are joined beneath the short waist by beaded shaped aprons carved with interlocking scrolls and extending to flanged hips above the stepped stretchers.

Provenance: Acquired by the present owner in Hong Kong in the late 1980s. 

NoteThe form is an adaptation of the rare convertible square 'winter-summer' tables, doubling as a low kang in winter and high dining tables in summer such as the example formerly in the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture was sold at Christie's New York, 19 September 1996, lot 43. The combination of the square upper-portion of the legs supporting the rounded lower section of the legs also adheres to the principle of the tianyuan difang (round heaven, square earth) taken from architectural designs but seen in other forms of furniture such as the pair of guanmaoyi in the present sale, lot 4073.

Another example of a huanghuali square table of this form but with floral designs on the aprons and stretchers is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated by Hu Desheng in A Treasury of Ming and Qing Dynasty Palace Furniture, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2007, p. 157, fig. 158. Compare also a table with highly embellished aprons which share the same feature of short squared carbriole upper-legs extending into circular-section lower-legs, one in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, illustrated by N. Berliner, Beyond the Screen: Chinese Furniture of the 16th and 17th Centuries, Boston, 1996, pp. 134-135, no. 22. A very similar side table carved with slightly more elaborate scrollwork on the apron was sold at Christie's New York, 2 December 1993, lot 147. 

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 30 May 2012, Hong Kong, HKCEC Grand Hall