Lot 128. pair of huanghuali low-back armchairs, meiguiyi, Late Ming-early Qing dynasty; 86 by 59 by 45 cm., 33 7/8  by 23 1/4  by 17 3/4  in. Estimate 1,800,000 — 2,800,000 HKD. Lot Sold 5,480,000 HKD (629,959 EUR). Courtesy Sotheby's.

each with a rectangular top rail decorated with a series of mouldings, mitred, mortised and tennoned to the stiles, the stiles continuing through the seat frame and extending as the back legs, the arms mitre, mortise and tenon to the stiles and posts, the posts continuing through the seat and extending as the front legs, the arch-shaped beaded-edged apron on the chair back tongue-and-grooved into the top rail and stiles and tennoned to a horizontal stretcher with vertical pillar-shaped struts below, the surface detailed with angular scrolls, similarly shaped and decorated arched aprons, stretchers and vertical struts set below the armrests, the posts, stiles, armrests and horizontal stretchers similarly decorated with a series of mouldings as the top rail, the seat frame of standard mitre, mortise and tennoned construction, supported by two curved transverse stretchers underneath, the edge of the seat frame similarly moulded as the posts and stiles with exposed tenons on the short sides, cusped aprons tongue-and-grooved to the legs and butt-joined to the underside of the seat frame, the front beaded-edged apron carved in low relief with elegantly meandering tendrils, the side aprons similarly bordered with a beaded edge, the back apron left plain and high, the front legs joined by a shaped footrest atop a plain shaped apron, the legs joined by moulded stretchers, all with exposed tenons, the side stretchers with plain shaped aprons underneath, the feet fitted with metal mounts.

Provenance: Kai-Yin Lo Collection, Hong Kong.

ExhibitedThe Chinese Collections, Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 1997-99, p. 124.
Grace Wu Bruce, Feast by a Wine Table Reclining on a Couch: The Dr. S. Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture III, Art Museum, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2007, cat. no. 3, pp. 32-33.
Grace Wu Bruce, Grace Wu Bruce presents a Choice Selection of Ming Furniture from the Dr. S. Y. Yip Collection, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, 2012, pp. 34-35.

Literature: Catherine Maudsley, ed., Classical and Vernacular Chinese Furniture in the Living Environment, Hong Kong, 1998, p. 125.

Note: "A classic literati type of chair for scholars to sit fairly upright, with minimal support to the mid-back so as not to induce sleep. It would be delicious to own this pair from the original set of four – the other two being at the Victoria and Albert Museum!"

Rose chairs are one of three types of classic Ming chair designs.  The prototype of rose chairs was already seen in Song paintings, such as the Eighteen Scholars, where they were used by the literati in halls and gardens.

These chairs are identical to the pair in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, probably from the same set, published in Craig Clunas, Chinese Furniture, Victoria and Albert Museum Far Eastern Series, London, 1988, p. 30. 

Sotheby's. Ming Furniture – The Dr S Y Yip Collection, Hong Kong, 07 October 2015