• Important Chinese Ceramics and auction at Christies

    Sale 2731

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    1 December 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1932

    A RARE HUANGHUALI THREE-RAILING BED, LUOHANCHUANG

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE HUANGHUALI THREE-RAILING BED, LUOHANCHUANG
    MING DYNASTY, 16TH CENTURY

    The side and back rails above the hard mat seat enclosed within a rectangular frame, above a narrow recessed waist and plain beaded apron, supported on squared legs of L-section terminating in hoof feet
    29 3/4 x 80 1/4 x 38 1/4 in. (75.6 x 203.8 x 97.2 cm.)


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    In his introduction to Chinese Furniture: One Hundred Examples from the Mimi and Raymond Hung Collection, New York, 1996, p. 26 R. Ellsworth notes that the distinctive L-section legs have been "cut out to simulate the T'ang box style construction of legs". This distinctive feature is shared by two further examples of plain-panelled luohan beds with L-section cut-out legs; the first formerly in the Robert Piccus collection sold at Christie's New York, 18 September 1997, lot 94; the second is illustrated by G. Ecke, Chinese Domestic Furniture, Rutland, Vermont, and Tokyo, 1962, pl. 27, no. 21.

    Other huanghuali luohan beds with plain railings include an example sold at Christie's New York, Important Chinese Furniture, Formerly the Museum of Classical Furniture Collection, 19 September 1996, lot 100 and sold again also at Christie's New York, 20 September 2001, lot 272; one in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, dated to 17th century, illustrated in R.H. Ellsworth, Chinese Furniture: Hardwood Examples of the Ming and Early Ch'ing Dynasties, New York, 1971, p. 145, pl 36; another illustrated by Wang Shixiang, Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties, Vol. II, Hong Kong, 1990, pp. 78-9, C5, C6. A luohan bed of similar proportions and design is illustrated by S. Handler, Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture, Berkeley and Toronto, 2005, p. 13, shown in the Astor Court, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    Compare, also, an example with curved railings and aprons dated to late 16th/early 17th century, previously in the Dr S.Y. Yip Collection of Classical Chinese Furniture, sold at Christie's New York, 20 September 2002, lot 50.

    This type of bed would not only have been used as an alternative bed to sleep on, but also as a seat to receive guests and a daybed to rest on. For a discussion of the varied uses of this style of bed, see Sarah Handler, "Comfort and Joy: A Couch Bed for Day and Night," Journal of the Classical Chinese Furniture Society, Winter 1991, pp. 4-19, and the corresponding chapter in Austere Luminosity of Chinese Classical Furniture, Berkeley, 2001, ch. 9, pp. 122-138.

    Provenance

    Robert and William Drummond
    Alice Boney, acquired in 1949
    Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, acquired in 1989


    Literature

    J.G. Lee, Chinese Furniture, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin 58, no.276, Philadelphia, winter 1963, p. 58, no.2
    Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, Chinese Furniture: Hardwood Examples of the Ming and Early Ch'ing Dynasties, New York, 1971, p.142, no. 33
    Anita Christy, Alice Boney: The Doyenne of Oriental Art Dealers, Orientations 19, No.12, December 1988, p.59, pl.9
    Ellsworth, Robert Hatfield, Chinese Furniture: One Hundred Examples from the Mimi and Raymond Hung Collection, New York, 1996, p.97, no.28


    Exhibited

    Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, 1962-1971, 1973-1974
    Asian Art Museum of San Franciso, Essence of Style, Chinese Furniture of the Late Ming and Early Qing Dyansties, 1998, Catalogue no. 12