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.