• Important Chinese Ceramics and auction at Christies

    Sale 2731

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    1 December 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1933

    A RARE PAIR OF HUANGHUALI AND HUAMU SOUTHERN OFFICIAL'S HAT ARMCHAIRS, NANGUANMAOYI

    Price Realised  

    A RARE PAIR OF HUANGHUALI AND HUAMU SOUTHERN OFFICIAL'S HAT ARMCHAIRS, NANGUANMAOYI
    YONGZHENG PERIOD (1723-1735)

    The stepped top rail above small shaped spandrels and supported on curved rear posts of square section which continue through the frame to form the back legs, the curved splat framing three panels divided by horizontal members, the top section inset with a panel carved in openwork with a beaded cloud-shaped design, the central panel formed by a well-figured huamu panel, and the lower panel enclosing an inset beaded apron, the S-shaped arm rails supported on the straight stiles and S-shaped front posts, above the generously proportioned rectangular frame enclosing a soft mat seat, the legs joined by stepped stretchers and a footrest, above shaped aprons and apron-head spandrels
    42 3/8 X 23 X 21 5/8 in. (107.6 x 58.5 x 55 cm.) (2)


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    Comfortable, elegant, and somewhat less formal than tall yoke back chairs with extended arm and top rails, the 'southern official's hat', nanguanmaoyi form was very popular during the Ming dynasty, and variations on it continued to be made throughout most of the Qing period.

    The use of different woods in combination is not uncommon. The combined use of woods in the present lot provides an attractive, textural contrast between the huanghuali frame and the swirl-grained huamu (burlwood). See Wang Shixiang and C. Evarts, Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, Chicago and San Francisco, 1995, pp. 68-89, no. 32 for a huanghuali southern official's hat armchair, dated to the 17th century, inlaid with nanmu burl.


    The carved upper section of the splat as well as the stepped arch in the lower section also provide decorative patterns that contrast with the clean lines of the rectangular frame of the chairs' structure.


    A square-membered huanghuali nanguanmaoyi of very similar form and proportions in the Palace Museum collection, Beijing, illustrated by Hu Desheng in Ming Qing Guting Jiaju Da Guan, Beijing, 2006, p. 103, no. 82. A huanghuali and nanmu burl chair of similar design formerly in the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture Collection, was sold at Christie's New York, 19 September 1996, lot 36 and was illustrated by Wang et al., Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, San Francisco and Chicago, 1995, pp. 68-9, no. 32.

    Literature

    Ellsworth, Robert Hatfield, Chinese Furniture: One Hundred and Three Examples from the Mimi and Raymond Hung Collection, New York, 2005, p.37, no.13