Lot 311. A rare huanghuali 'Southern officials hat' armchair, nanguanmaoyi, Ming dynasty, 17th century; 40 3/8 in. (112.6 cm.) high, 23 ¾ in. (62.8 cm.) wide, 19 ¾ in. (50.2 cm.) deep. Estimate GBP 20,000 - GBP 30,000. Price realised GBP 68,750. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.
The shaped crestrail is supported on a curved backsplat finely carved with a ruyi medallion and curved rear posts which continue through the seat to form the rear legs. The outcurved arms are supported by tapering stiles and curved front posts continuing through the seat to form the front legs. The rectangular seat encloses a mat seat above a shaped, beaded apron carved with foliate scroll. The legs are joined by stepped stretchers at the side and a footrest at front.
Provenance: With Ming Furniture Ltd., New York, 2008.
From the collection of a distinguished Asian gentleman.
Note: The ‘Southern official’s’ hat armchair is one of the most popular forms in Chinese furniture. It differs from the official’s hat armchair in that its crest rail continues into the back rails as opposed to extending beyond them. The style of the present example is therefore also known as a continuous yokeback armchair. For a comprehensive view of the evolution of the yokeback chair, see Sarah Handler, ‘A Yokeback Chair for Sitting Tall,’ Journal of the Chinese Classical Furniture Society, Spring 1993, pp. 4-23, where the author sheds light on the development of the yokeback chair as one of the earliest chair types in China. The first known depiction of the yokeback chair is from a cave painting in Dunhuang, dated 538. From that early period in Chinese history, the yokeback chair developed into one of the most popular and successful forms of furniture.
The present chair appears to be the matching pair to the continuous yokeback armchair illustrated by Sarah Handler in Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture, Berkeley, California, 2004, p. 118.