Lot 196. A pair of marble-inset hongmu garden stools, Late Ming dynasty (1368-1644); h. 49 cm. Lot sold: 2,646,000 HKD (Estimate: 300,000 - 500,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2022
each of barrel-form, the round seat frame and foot accented with nail-head bosses, the bulging convex sides pierced with five elongated quatrefoil cartouches, the top inset with a circular marble panel.
Provenance: R.H. Ellsworth Ltd, New York, 8th March 2000.
Note: Barrel-shaped stools, such as the present pair, were made for indoor as well as outdoor use. They are known as zuodun in Chinese, or xiudun ('embroidery seat') because they were often covered with decorative brocaded cushions for added comfort.
The design of the present stools simulates a drum with a nailed drumhead skin on the top and its origin can be traced to as early as the Song dynasty. Compare a zitan stool of this form with five quatrefoil cartouches but its seat is left undecorated, illustrated in Wang Shixiang, Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture, Hong Kong, 1980, pl. A35, together with four other examples with nail-head bosses, pls A33, A34, A36 and A37.
Sotheby's. HOTUNG The Personal Collection of the late Sir Joseph Hotung: Part 1, Hong Kong, 9 October 2022