Lot 1254. A rare huanghuali 'Southern official's hat' armchair, nanguanmaoyi, 17th-18th century; 40 in. (101.6 cm.) high, 23 ½ in. (59.7 cm.) wide, 18 ¾ in. (47.6 cm.) deep. Estimate USD 80,000 - USD 120,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2018
The curved crest rail is supported on curved rear posts and a gently-curving splat carved with a ruyi-form medallion. The arm rails are supported on slender, tapering, standing stiles and curved front posts that continue through the seat to form the front legs. The mat seat is set in a rectangular frame above a plain, beaded apron and spandrels. The whole is raised on legs of round section joined by stepped stretchers at the sides and a footrest at the front.
Provenance: Ming Gallery, Ltd., New York, 1995.
Literature: S. Handler, Ming Furniture In the Light of Chinese Architecture, Berkeley, 2005, p. 118.
Note: The ‘Southern official’s hat’ armchair is one of the most popular forms in Chinese furniture. Also known as continuous yokeback armchair, it differs from the official’s hat armchair in that its crest rail continues into the back rails as opposed to extending beyond them.” 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 discuss the development of the yokeback chair as one of the earliest chair types in China.
The present chair appears to be the matching pair to another Southern official’s hat armchair sold at Christie’s London, May 2018, lot 311. A similar pair of armchairs, dated to the Ming dynasty, but with plain backsplats, is illustrated in G. Bruce, Two Decades of Ming Furniture, Beijing, 2010, p.112.
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. Price realised GBP 68,750 at Christie’s London, 15 May 2018, lot 311. © Christie's Images Ltd 2018
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 13 - 14 September