Lot 133. A huanghuali lute table, Late Ming dynasty; 80.2 by 108 by 61.5 cm., 31 5/8 by 42 1/2 by 24 1/2 in. Estimate 2,500,000 — 3,800,000 HKD. Lot Sold 7,520,000 HKD (864,469 EUR). Courtesy Sotheby's.
the top of standard mitre, mortise and tenon construction with a flush, two-board floating panel tongue-and-grooved into the mitred frame, supported by three dovetailed transverse braces, the short sides of the top with exposed tenons, the frame moulding downward from about halfway down and ending in a beaded edge, the beaded-edged apron with ruyi-shaped spandrels and butt-joined to the underside of the table and tongue-and grooved to the legs, the legs rounded on the outside, squared on the inside and double-tennoned to the top, four square-section S-shaped braces mortise-and-tennoned into the legs and half-lapped and wood-pinned onto the transverse brace on either end of the table for further support.
Exhibited: Selected Treasures of Chinese Art: Min Chiu Society Thirtieth Anniversary Exhibition, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1990-91, cat. no. 263, pp. 506-507.
Grace Wu Bruce, Dreams of Chu Tan Chamber and the Romance with Huanghuali Wood: The Dr. S. Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture, Art Museum, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1991, cat. no. 20, pp. 62-63.
The Chinese Collections, Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 1997-99.
Museum Für Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin, 2000-02.
Grace Wu Bruce, Grace Wu Bruce presents a choice selection of Ming Furniture from the Dr. S. Y. Yip collections, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, 2012, pp. 32-33.
Literature: Yip Shing Yiu, 'Collecting Ming Furniture of Huang Hua-Li Wood', Arts of Asia, May-June 1991, p. 121, fig. 11.
Note: "A must for a guqin lover. S shaped braces make such a different status to a table."
Lute tables are recorded in both the Wanli (1573-1620) edition of Lu Ban jing jiang jia jing [The Classic of Lu Ban and the Craftsman's Mirror] and Gegu yaolun [The Essential Criteria for Antiquities] of 1388 as a type of table of a certain size intended for one to play the lute upon. However, it is not certain whether these tables were used exclusively for this purpose. This table of special design has an apron with attractive ruyi-shaped spandrels and curved S-shaped braces. The latter is a unique feature in Chinese furniture of this period.
Sotheby's. Ming Furniture – The Dr S Y Yip Collection, Hong Kong, 07 October 2015