Lot 116. A huanghuali marble doors table cabinet, Late Ming-early Qing dynasty; 34.5 by 35 by 25.3 cm., 13 1/2 by 13 3/4 by 9 7/8 in. Estimate 180,000 — 280,000 HKD. Lot Sold 2,720,000 HKD (312,680 EUR). Courtesy Sotheby's.
of rectangular form, the top lid opening to reveal a tray-like compartment, set with five drawers behind the two doors, the doors inset with dalishi marble visible on both sides, all resting on a cusped base.
Exhibited: Art and the Chinese Scholar: the S. Y. Yip Collection, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, 1996-99.
Grace Wu Bruce, Chan Chair and Qin Bench: The Dr. S. Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture II, Art Museum, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1998, cat. no. 62, pp. 180-181.
Note: "This box is distinguished by its superb metalware, in all three kinds of bonze, white yellow and red, and the beautifully figured marble doors. Note the weathering on themarble outside versus the inside."
These table cabinets were used as dressing cases by both men and women to store toiletries, jewellery and other valuables. They were also used on desks for the storage of stationery, writing implements and seals. These pieces are called guanpi xiang, official boxes, but in fact, their construction is more like a cabinet than a box.
There is a quantity of table cabinets that has survived but none as glamorous as this example with picturesque marble doors.
The metalware is made of baitong beautifully and intricately worked hinges, plates and pulls. Some pieces are decorated with hongtong and huangtong inlays.
Sotheby's. Ming Furniture – The Dr S Y Yip Collection, Hong Kong, 07 October 2015