11 novembre 2020

Classical Chinese Furniture from a European Private Collection sold at Sotheby's London,

This carefully selected collection of huanghuali and zitan furniture features high-quality Chinese furniture from the late Ming and Qing dynasty, along with several items for the scholar’s desk. Consisting of twenty-six lots in total, the sale features a marble inlaid bed, beautifully carved altar tables and armchairs, as well as several different styles of cabinets that reveals the Ming and Qing craftsman’s repertoire.

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Lot 101. huanghuali horseshoe-back armchair, quanyi17th century; 99.2 by 67.5 by 66 cm, 39⅛ by 26½ by 26 inEstimate: 30,000 - 50,000 GBP. Lot sold 37,800 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

with a curving toprail sloping down to the arms supported on serpentine side posts and terminating in a curved hook beyond the corner posts set with shaped spandrels, the backsplat carved with a ruyi-shaped panel enclosing dragons, the back corner posts continuing below the rectangular frame, with mat seat, to the back legs joined by stretchers, the front legs with a cusped arching apron.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

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Lot 102. huanghuali horseshoe-back armchair, quanyi, Qing dynasty, 17th-18th century; 99 by 66 by 68 cm, 39 by 26 by 26⅞ inEstimate: 30,000 - 50,000 GBP. Lot sold 37,800 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

with a curving toprail sloping down to arms supported on serpentine side posts and terminating in a curved hook beyond corner posts set with shaped spandrels, the backsplat carved with a ruyi-shaped panel enclosing dragons, the back corner posts continuing below the rectangular frame, to back legs joined by stretchers, the front legs with a cusped arching apron, with mat seat.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

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Lot 103. huanghuali brushpot, Qing dynasty, 17th-18th century. Height 19.3 cm, 7½ in. Estimate: 3,000 - 5,000 GBP. Lot sold 4,788 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

of gently tapered cylindrical form rising from a recessed base, the densely grained surface patinated to a reddish-brown tone.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

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Lot 105. A pair of huanghuali boxes and covers, Qing dynasty, 19th century. Width 12.3 and 12.1 cm, 4⅞ and 4¾ in. Estimate: 1,500 - 2,500 GBP. Lot sold 50,400 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

each of melon form, with lobed sides rising from a flat base, surmounted by a plain cover with a convex centre.

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Lot 106. huanghuali recessed-leg table, qiaotouan, 17th century; 101.5 by 28.5 by 80 cm, 40 by 11¼ by 31½ in. Estimate: 30,000- 50,000 GBP. Lot sold 69,300 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

the panelled rectangular top terminating in everted flanges, above a plain apron carved and pierced with 'cloud-collar' scrolls at the spandrels, the square-section legs secured by two pairs of cross braces.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

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Lot 107. A magnificent pair of huanghuali continuous yokeback armchairs, nanguanmaoyi, Late Ming dynasty. Each 120 by 62 by 48 cm, 47 by 24½ by 18⅞ inEstimate200,000 - 300,000 GBP. Lot sold 837,800 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

each chair with an elegantly arched yokeback toprail supported by shaped spandrels and curving down to join the gently sloping rear posts continuing through the frame to form the back legs, with a well-figured wide splat tenoned to the underside of the yoke and into the back rail of the seat frame, the arms supported on baluster-form centre stiles, the rectangular seat frame enclosing a mat seat, the edge moulded and tapering inwards, the legs joined by a plain beaded apron, the side and back stretchers of ascending height

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

Note: Elegant lines and generous yet balanced proportions characterize this magnificent pair of armchairs. Their round members and wide C-shaped back splats create a subtle, undulating movement that is completed in with minimal details such as shaped flanged and spindle-form stiles. The rich, lustrous honey-toned huanghuali of the back splats with matching grain pattern demonstrates that these two chairs were conceived and made as a true pair. 

Chairs of this specific form are known as nanguanmaoyi, or ‘southern-official hat chairs’, and belong to a category of yokeback armchairs that were very popular in the Ming period. Nanguanmaoyi are characterised by the unbroken line from top and side rails to arms and legs, a feature that was made possible through the ingenious right-angle ‘pipe joint’. These comfortable and elegant chairs are somewhat less formal than guanmaoyi (‘official hat chairs') with protruding arms and crest rails, which were reserved for the master of the household and high-ranking guests. Nevertheless, the tall C-shaped splat of these chairs, would have forced its occupant to sit upright, thus endowing him with a sense of power and dignity. 

This particular variation with continuous back and arm rails was first developed in the Ming dynasty, possibly inspired by bamboo chair construction, where pliable lengths of bamboo were bent and bound together with natural fibres. Robert D. Jacobsen and Nicholas Grindley in Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 1999, pl. 9, cite two speckled bamboo chairs with continuous top and arm rails, illustrated in the Wanli period Kunqu opera Tale of the Jade Hairpin.

A similar chair is illustrated in Robert H. Ellsworth, Chinese Furniture, New York, 1970, pl. 6. Compare also with a pair of continuous yokeback armchairs from the collection of Dr S.Y. Yip, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 7th October 2015, lot 111. As single armchair with shaped aprons, but lacking the interior flanges, in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, is illustrated op. cit., pl. 9.

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Lot 108. huanghuali square tablenanguanmaoyi, Qing dynasty, 18th century; 82 by 82 by 78 cm, 32¼ by 32¼ by 30¾ inEstimate12,000 - 18,000 GBP. Lot sold 69,300 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

the framed rounded edge top supported on four round legs joined by two parallel stretchers carved to suggest double stems of bamboo, above further arched stretchers, the underside with four jumu stretchers.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

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Lot 109. A rare pair of huanghuali low-back chairs, Qing dynasty, 18th century. Each 75 by 58 by 46 cm, 29½ by 22¾ by 18⅛ inEstimate20,000 - 30,000 GBP. Lot sold 25,200 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

each with a mat seat set within a rectangular frame with tapering sides of standard mitre, mortise and tenoned construction, beneath the elegantly curved crest framing rows of slender vertical struts, the openwork apron decorated with octagonal panels, all raised on legs of rounded section joined by pairs of stretchers.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

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Lot 111. huanghuali two door cabinet, Qing dynasty, 19th century; 173 by 100 by 55 cm, 68⅛ by 39⅜ by 21½ inEstimate: 20,000 - 30,000 GBP. Lot sold 100,800 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

of rectangular form, with panelled rectangular top and round corner posts enclosing a pair of doors opening from a central stile, the bottom half with a floating solid panel decorated with beaded-edged cusp panels, the upper half with openwork trellis, all above a plain narrow apron and short legs, the interior with two shelves, one containing two drawers.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

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Lot 112. A miniature huanghuali altar table, Qing dynasty, 19th century; 32 by 12.6 by 10.5 cm, 12½ by 5 by 4⅛ inEstimate: 1,000 - 2,000 GBP. Lot sold 16,380 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.

the rectangular top terminating in everted flanges, above a shaped apron, supported on legs joined by a stretcher and flanking an openwork ruyi panel.

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Lot 114. A miniature nanmu daybed, Qing dynasty, 19th century; 26 by 17.5 by 15.2 cm, 10¼ by 6⅞ by 6 inEstimate: 1,000 - 2,000 GBP. Lot sold 2,772 GBPCourtesy Sotheby's.

the rectangular top with the rounded frame, the apron carved in low relief with floral scrolls and beast heads to the corners, all supported on four small cabriolet legs joined by stretchers.

Provenance: Hei Hung Lu, Hong Kong, October 1990.

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Lot 115. zitan three-tiered 'picnic' box, Qing dynasty, 18th-19th century; 34 by 22 by 18.3 cm, 13⅜ by 8¾ by 7¼ inEstimate: 4,000 - 6,000 GBP. Lot sold 12,600 GBPCourtesy Sotheby's.

of rectangular form, comprising a cover, a shallow upper tray above three stacked trays, the arched handle rising from a stepped base with shaped spandrels on each side.

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Lot 118. A pair of huanghuali yokeback armchairs, sichutou guanmaoyi, Qing dynasty, Early 19th century; 98.5 by 56 by 47 cm, 38¾ by 22 by 18½ in.; 98 by 56 by 47 cm, 38½ by 22 by 18½ inEstimate: 20,000 - 30,000 GBP. Lot sold 75,600 GBPCourtesy Sotheby's.

each with arched yokeback toprail supported on slender round stiles extending to the back legs, over a central splat enclosing an openwork shou roundel above a plain panel, the curved arms projecting beyond the front posts set back from the corners of the rectangular hard mat seat, all above a plain apron with spandrels, the legs further joined with stretchers and a footrest.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

 

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Lot 119. A zitan side table, tiaozhuoQing dynasty, 18th century; 98 by 62 by 86 cm, 38½ by 24⅜ by 33⅞ inEstimate: 15,000 - 25,000 GBP. Lot sold 52,920 GBPCourtesy Sotheby's.

the single panel top set within a rectangular frame, 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, the elegant square-section legs enclosing reticulated dragon medallions joined by humpback stretchers and terminating in hoof feet.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

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Lot 120. A pair of huanghuali two-door cabinets, 20th century139 by 86.5 by 51 cm, 54¾ by 34 by 20⅛ in.; 138.5 by 86.5 by 51 cm, 54½ by 34 by 20⅛ inEstimate: 10,000 - 20,000 GBP. Lot sold 113,400 GBPCourtesy Sotheby's.

each of rectangular box construction, with doors set with baitong hinges and lock plate, all above an apron carved with two confronted chilong, the sides and reverse with a cusped apron, supported on four short square legs, the interior with one shelf containing two drawers.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

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Lot 121. huanghuali altar table, qiaotouan, 17th century; 203 by 47.5 by 90 cm, 80 by 18¾ by 35½ inEstimate40,000 - 60,000 GBP. Lot sold 352,800 GBPCourtesy Sotheby's.

each of rectangular box construction, with doors set with baitong hinges and lock plate, all above an apron carved with two confronted chilong, the sides and reverse with a cusped apron, supported on four short square legs, the interior with one shelf containing two drawers.

Provenance: Purchased from Hei Hung-Lu, Hong Kong, late 1980s/early 1990s.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, London, 4 November 2020


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