19 août 2019

Back on Ming dynasty furniture sold at Christie's New York, 19 March 2008


Lot 372. A rare huanghuali and nanmu wine table, jiuzhuo, 16th-17th century; 34 1/8 in. (86.7 cm.) high, 41 in. (104.1 cm.) wide, 29 5/8 in. (75.3 cm.) deep. Estimate USD 90,000 - USD 120,000. Price realised USD 217,000© Christie's Image Ltd 2008.

The attractive large nanmu burl panel set into the broad rectangular huanghuali frame, with beaded 'ice-plate' edge above the wide, beaded undulating single-panel apron, the slightly splayed legs of circular section joined on the long sides by humpback stretchers and on the narrow sides by pairs of plain oval stretchers.

Literature: P. Kao, C. Evarts, T. Jiaqing, L. Lin, Splendor of Style: Classical Chinese Furniture from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, National Museum of History, Taipei, 1999, p. 135. 

Exhibited: National Museum of History, Taipei, 26 June-5 September 1999.

Note: The elegant, strong proportions of the current table, combined with the attractive use of nanmu burl and huanghuali, provide a pleasing aesthetic, and would have greatly appealed to the scholar collector. Used for dining, often for one or two individuals, wine tables appear frequently in paintings of the Ming dynasty, and were used throughout the Ming and early Qing periods. The well-proportioned composition and structure of the current table suggest an early form.

For a further discussion on wine tables, see Wang Shixiang, et. al. Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture, vol. I, Hong Kong, 1990, pp. 54-6


Lot 374. huanghuali recessed-leg side table, pingtouan, 17th century; 33 in. (83.8 cm.) high, 43¾ in. (111.1 cm.) wide, 21 7/8 in. (55.5 cm.) deepEstimate USD 25,000 - USD 35,000. Price realised USD 46,600© Christie's Image Ltd 2008.

The three-panel top set within a broad frame supported on round legs joined by a plain beaded apron and apron-head spandrels, the legs joined on the short sides by pairs of oval stretchers.

Note: This simple, refined form is one of the classic forms found in furniture of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Compare a similarly proportioned recessed-leg table, illustrated by Wang et al., Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture, Hong Kong, 1990, no. B81. See, also, the 17th century example of similar size illustrated by C. Evarts, Liang Yi Collection: Huanghuali, Hong Kong, 2007, p. 115, no. 39.  


Lot 377. huanghuali storage chest, yixiang17th century; 11¾ in. (29.8 cm.) high, 25 in. (63.5 cm.) wide, 16¾ in. (42.5 cm.) deepEstimate USD 10,000 - USD 15,000. Price realised USD 12,500© Christie's Image Ltd 2008.

Of rectangular form, the wood of smooth-grained texture, with a cloud-shaped lockplate set flush, bail handles, corner edges and hinges all of huangtong. 

Provenance: C. L. Ma. 

Note: Compare the pair of huanghuali and camphor storage chests, formerly in the collection of the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, sold in these rooms, 19 September 1996, lot 10, and one illustrated by Wang and Evarts, Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, Chicago and San Francisco, p. 136, no. 64. 


Lot 378. huanghuali waisted corner-leg tablezhuo17th century; 34 3/8 in. (87.2 cm.) high, 62 5/16 in. (158.3 cm.) wide, 23 in. (58.4 cm.) deepEstimate USD 70,000 - USD 90,000. Price realised USD 169,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2008.

The large single-panel top enclosed within a broad frame with fluted edge, supported on a narrow waist and beaded apron flush with the legs of square section joined by humpback stretchers and terminating in hoof feet.

Note: Compare the slightly smaller table of similar style and proportions, dated to the 16th century, illustrated by R.H. Ellsworth, Chinese Furniture, New York, 1971, pl. 66.


Lot 382. A small huanghuali waisted corner-leg table, banzhuo17th century; 30½ in. (76.2 cm.) high, 36 1/8 in. (91.8 cm.) wide, 18 1/8 in. (45.9 cm.) deepEstimate USD 50,000 - USD 70,000Price realised USD 127,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2008.

The single-panel top enclosed within a broad frame with 'ice-plate' edge, set on a narrow waist above the beaded apron flush with square legs terminating in hoofed feet.

NoteCompare a similar small huanghuali side table with puddingstone top, dated to the 16th or 17th century, illustrated by G. W. Bruce, Dreams of Chu Tan Chamber and the Romance with Huanghuali Wood: The Dr. S.Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture, Hong Kong, 1991, pp. 54-5, no. 16, where it is noted that this elegant form "relies entirely on the delicacy of its proportions for its beauty." 


Lot 375. zitan and wumu tapered cabinet, yuanjiaogui, 17th-18th century; 46½ in. (118.6 cm.) high, 30 in. (76 cm.) wide, 16 in. (41 cm.) deepEstimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000Price realised USD 229,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2008.

The protruding round-cornered top supported on slightly splayed corner posts of round section, enclosing the rectangular-panel doors opening from the removable center stile, the interior fitted with two shelves and a pair of drawers, all above the plain narrow apron and apron-head spandrels, the darker color of the wumu frame forming an attractive contrast with the zitan panels.

Provenance: Christie's, New York, The Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. Piccus Collection of Fine Classical Chinese Furniture, 18 September 1997, lot 25. 

Note: Because it was costly and only grew to a small diameter, wumu, or ebony, was rarely used as a structural material in Chinese furniture, but, rather, as a decorative element. This is seen, for example, in the four-shelf huanghuali bookcase with ebony railings illustrated by Wang Shixiang and C. Evarts, Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, p. 122, no. 57, sold in these rooms, 19 September 1996, lot 80.

The present example, which combines wumu for the framework and the equally prized zitan for the broader panel elements, ranks as a fine example of the subtle way the skilled craftsmen would combine rare materials to create an effect that would be most appreciated by the scholar collector.


Lot 381. A pair of jumu tapered cabinets, yuanjiaogui, 17th-18th century; 67½ in. (172 cm.) high, 35 7/8 (91 cm.) wide, 18½ in. (47 cm.) deepEstimate USD 15,000 - USD 25,000Price realised USD 32,200© Christie's Image Ltd 2008.

Elegantly proportioned, the protruding top with fluted edge set on slightly splayed, fluted corner posts enclosing the single-board recessed panel doors, opening on wood hinges from the removable center stile to reveal two drawers with chrysanthemum-form plates and pulls, above a simple apron and short spandrels, the doors with three-part lock plate and pulls.

Provenance: Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. Piccus Collection.

NoteA similar pair of tapered cabinets, but with stylized spandrels, is illustrated by Wang Shixiang et. al., Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties, Hong Kong, 1990, vol. II, p. 151, no. D23. 

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics And Works Of Art, New York, 19 March 2008.

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