Lot 3009. A jumu highwaist S-brace everted-end table, Late Ming dynasty; 83.9 by 198.8 by 55.5 cm, 33 by 78 1/4 by 21 7/8 in. Estimate 2,500,000 — 3,000,000 HKD. © Sotheby's 2018
the long rectangular top of standard mitre, mortise and tenon frame and flush, with a floating panel tongue-and-grooved to the frame with shaped everted flanges, supported by dovetailed transverse stretchers underneath, the short sides of the top with exposed tenons, with a high recessed waist and the beaded-edged, straight apron mitred, mortised, tenoned into and half-lapped onto the legs which terminate in well drawn hoof feet, with four S-shaped braces mortised and tenoned, half-lapped and wood-pinned onto the legs.
Provenance: William Lipton Ltd, New York, 2001.
Literature: The painting is accompanied by a certificate of Yamana Tsurayoshi (1836-1902), dated to the 17th year of the Meiji era (1884), attributing the present scroll painting to Takakane Takashina (active 1309-1330).
Note: Tables with everted ends from the Ming dynasty are usually completed with recessed legs (qiaotou’an) but very rarely with corner legs (qiaotouzhuo), such as the present table. See a huanghuali example, also with square-section S-braces and hoof feet, but waistless, formerly in the collection of Gangolf Geis, sold at Christie’s News York, 18th September 2003, lot 44, recently published in Grace Wu, The Best of the Best: The MQJ Collection of Ming Furniture, Beijing, 2017, vol. 1, pp. 142-147. The late Ming dynasty pictorial encyclopedia Sancai tuhui [Pictorial encyclopaedia of heaven, earth and man] includes a line drawing of a waisted corner-leg table with everted ends, referred to as ‘yanji’, illustrated ibid., p. 142.
Among the indigenous woods of China, Jumu is the hardest of all, and in ancient times, one of the most precious before the use of huanghuali wood. Ju grows in Jiangsu and Zhejiang province and surviving examples are almost all identical to huanghuali Ming Furniture in form, style and craftsmanship. Therefore cabinet makers and true connoisseurs of Chinese furniture greatly valued them, believing in their aesthetic and historical merits despite them being made of a less precious wood.
The wood is hard and dense, of a beautiful colour and grain, with a characteristic 'pagoda'; pattern suggesting a scenery of mountainous ranges.