A Huanghuali Recessed-Leg Table, Pingtouan, Late Ming Dynasty

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Lot 11. A Huanghuali Recessed-Leg Table, Pingtouan, Late Ming Dynasty; 87 by 215 by 44.5cm., 34 1/4 by 84 5/8 by 17 1/2 in. Estimate 40,000 — 60,000 GBP. Lot sold 131,000 GBP. © Sotheby's 2015

the panelled top with 'ice-plate' edge, the beaded square legs joined by a plain straight apron with apron-head spandrels and the front and back legs secured by pairs of cross braces.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

Note: The enduring elegance of this classical table is evident in its constant popularity though the generations with no changes made other than variations in dimensions to suit the household. George N. Kates, in Chinese Household Furniture, New York, 1948, p. 78, suggests that it may have originally been collapsible, the flanges of the apron possibly serving as braces. The form was used in all classes of Chinese society, with the status only reveal in the quality of the wood employed and the level of craftsmanship. The smoothly finished surfaces and joinery and huanghuali it is constructed from indicate that this table would have belonged to a member of the court or wealthy scholar. 

A slightly smaller table, from the collection of Dr Gustav Ecke, is illustrated ibid., pl. 30; a slightly larger example, attributed to the 17th century and with slightly thicker legs and frames, from the collection of Robert H. Ellsworth collection, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 17th March 2015, lot 42; and another sold at Bonhams New York, 17th September 2013, lot 8131. See also a table of this type offered from this collection, lot 14.

Sotheby's. Classical Chinese Furniture from a European Private Collection, London, 11 november 2015