Lot 492. A pair of huanghuali continous yokeback armchairs (nanguanmaoyi), Ming dynasty, 17th century. Height 45 1/4 in., 115 cm; Width 23 in., 63.5 cm; Depth 19 in., 48 cm. Estimate: 80,000 — 120,000 USD. Lot sold 137,000 USD. © Sotheby's
each with an elegantly shaped crestrail supported by shaped spandrels, above a bowed, wide splat, with gently curving arms continuing, supported on S-curve supports, to join the recessed frontal stile, with a hard cane seat, the legs framed by straight beaded flange brackets with box stretchers.
Provenance: Ming Furniture Ltd., New York, 1993.
Literature: Ming Furniture Ltd., Catalogue, 1989, plate 13.
Note: According to Sarah Handler, Austere Luminosity of Chinese Classical Furniture, Hong Kong, 2001, p. 43, "the Chinese yokeback chair is the stately seat of Buddhists, deities, royalty and important people." This pair of chairs is part of a pantheon of yokeback chairs, and the present pair is no exception. An interesting feature - the interior flanges below the crestrail - is unusual in that such flanges typically are arranged on the exterior.
A similar pair of armchairs formerly in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections was sold in these rooms 16th September 2009, lot 20. Another of this type is illustrated in Robert H. Ellsworth, Chinese Furniture, New York, 1970, pl. 6. Additionally, a miniature example of the form was excavated in 1960 in Shanghai from the tomb of Pan Yunzheng, dated to circa 1589.