Lot 137. A zitan side table, zhuo, Late Ming dynasty; 86.8 by 122.7 by 52.5 cm., 34 1/8 by 48 1/4 by 20 5/8 in.. Estimate 900,000 — 1,800,000 HKD. Lot Sold 2,600,000 HKD (298,885 EUR). Courtesy Sotheby's.
the top of standard mitre, mortise and tenon frame and flush, tongue-and-grooved, five board floating-panel construction supported by four dovetailed transverse stretchers, the shorter members of the frame top with exposed tenons, the edge of the frame grooved and moulding downward and inward to end in a narrow flat band, all above a recessed waist and beaded-edged straight apron, both made of one piece of wood and mitred, mortised and tennoned into and half-lapped onto the legs, the legs double-lock tennoned to the mitred frame and terminating in well-drawn hoof feet, the legs mortised and tennoned with humpback-shaped stretchers.
Exhibited: Grace Wu Bruce, Zitan Furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties, Hong Kong Exhibition, Grace Wu Bruce, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 19.
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. 45, pp. 136-137.
Note: "A zitan piece of the late Ming is such a rarity, one of my prized possessions amidst my huanghuali pieces."
Furniture pieces made of zitan dated to the Ming are very rare. Surviving examples are mostly the carved and decorated pieces of the eighteenth century or the plain ones of the late nineteenth and twentieth century.
This Ming design, seen already in wall murals of the Jin and Yuan dynasties (1115-1368, is hailed by furniture historians to be an all-time classic. For a similar huanghuali but smaller example see Craig Clunas, Chinese Furniture, Victoria and Albert Museum, Far Eastern Series, London, 1988, p. 48. Another example, also smaller, the collection of the Central Academy of Arts and Crafts, Beijing, is published in Chen Zengbi, Zhongyang Gongyi Meishu Xueyuan Yuancang: Zhenpin Tulu [Central Academy of Arts and Crafts: Illustrations of collections], vol. 2: Mingshi Jiaju [Ming Furniture], Hong Kong, 1994, p. 35.
Sotheby's. Ming Furniture – The Dr S Y Yip Collection, Hong Kong, 07 October 2015