Lot 136. A pair of huanghuali square corner kang cabinets, Late Ming dynasty; 49.9 by 39.2 by 24.3 cm., 19 5/8 by 15 3/8 by 9 5/8 in. Estimate 1,500,000 — 2,500,000 HKD. Lot Sold 3,920,000 HKD (450,627 EUR). Courtesy Sotheby's.
each with a top of mitre, mortise and exposed tenon construction with a flush, tongue-and-grooved, floating panel supported by two dovetailed transverse stretchers underneath, the four square uprights pyramid-joined to the top and moulded and beaded where they meet the side and back panels, the series of moulded and beaded decoration echoed on the stretchers joining the uprights on the sides and back, framing the tongue-and-grooved, floating panels on the sides and back, the two removable doors of standard mitre, mortise and tenon frame construction with two mitred horizontal stretchers forming three sections on each door, on either sides of the central removable stile, the inset panels decorated with beaded-edged cusped aprons, the interior of the cabinet with a central section comprising a shelf and two drawers with baitong plates and pulls, the beaded-edged, shaped stretcher below the door with a further beaded-edged, curvilinear apron carved with entwining tendrils and tongue-and-grooved into the legs and butt-joined to the underside of the stretcher, the sides with two similarly shaped beaded-edged aprons with no carvings whilst the one on the back left plain, decorated with four beautifully shaped baitong hinges and a central baitong plate with square lock receptacles, the door pulls and plates similarly made of baitong.
Exhibited: Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1997-2001.
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. 34, pp. 126-127.
Note: "A delicious pair to be put on a kang. I bought these six years apart! They were separated and then remarried."
Cabinets of this size were probably meant for use on the kang. Surviving examples made in huanghuali wood are very rare, a pair even more so. This pair is made with beautifully grained huanghuali wood, used throughout the cabinets. See a comparable pair without decorations on the doors, illustrated in Grace Wu Bruce, Sublime and Divine Chinese Ming furniture, Grace Wu Bruce, Hong Kong, 2014, pp. 72-75.
Sotheby's. Ming Furniture – The Dr S Y Yip Collection, Hong Kong, 07 October 2015