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Lot 234. A pair of Huanghuali three-shelf bookcases, jiage, 18th century; 161.3cm (63 1/2in) high x 79.9cm (31 1/2in) wide x 39.8cm (15 5/8in) deep. Estimate HK$ 800,000 - 1,000,000 (€ 91,000 - 110,000)Sold for HK$ 3,502,500 (€ 397,984). © Bonhams 2001-2021

Each of rectangular form and standard miter, mortise and tenon construction, the slender square corner posts framing the softwood top panel and three shelves, one of which surmounts a pair of drawers, the corner posts extending to form the foot reinforced with metal straps, joined by plain spandreled aprons.

ProvenanceDynasty Gallery Ltd., Connecticut
Mr David W. Reierson, Florida, acquired from the above in 1989.

NoteIt is very rare to find huanghuali bookcases of this type as a pair such as the present lot. Although bookcases and open-shelf stands are often referred to as shuge (bookcases), educated social elites would also place art objects on the shelf, hence it is more appropriate to refer to such open-shelf stands as jiage, the basic forms of which are discussed by Wang Shixiang, Mingshi jiaju yanjiu, Beijing, 2007, pp.165-166. Jiage with open shelving fulfilled two roles, as it allowed scholars to create elegant displays of scholar's objects and also functioned for storage of albums and books.

Compare a similar huanghuali three-shelf bookcase, Ming dynasty, illustrated by Wang Shixiang, in ibid., pl.ding-3; and another larger huanghuali three-shelf bookcase but with three drawers, 17th century, illustrated by G. W. Bruce, Ming Furniture Through My Eyes, Beijing, 2016, p.198.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Works of Art, Hong Kong, 2 Dec 2021