• Fine Chinese Ceramics and Work auction at Christies

    Sale 2405

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    25 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1064

    AN EXTREMELY RARE BLACKISH-BROWN LACQUERED EIGHT-LEGGED TABLE

    12TH/EARLY 15TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN EXTREMELY RARE BLACKISH-BROWN LACQUERED EIGHT-LEGGED TABLE
    12TH/EARLY 15TH CENTURY
    With rectangular top indented at each corner, supported on each narrow side by four tall, ribbed cabriole legs terminating in upswept feet, covered overall in a finely crackled blackish-brown lacquer
    19 3/8 in. (49.2 cm.) high, 16 5/16 in. (41.4 cm.) wide, 13½ in. (34.3 cm.) deep


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    Surviving examples of early lacquer furniture such as the present lot are very rare, primarily due to the fragility of the materials used, as many early examples employed softwood frames which are more subject to breakage. When published by Lee in 1972, the present table was dated Tang dynasty, eighth century, perhaps due to stylistic similarities to other early known examples. See a detail from the Five Dynasties painting entitled 'The Reading Lesson,' attributed to Huang Quan (903-965), included in the Special Exhibition of Furniture in Paintings, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1996, pl. III, where a scholar and his attendant are seated beside low tables with numerous legs joined by base stretchers. (Fig. 1) However, examples of this form can be seen as early as the Han dynasty, as evidenced by a tall carved lacquer armrest dated to the Warring States period, excavated from Xinyang district in Henan, illustrated in Arts of China: Neolithic Cultures to the T'ang Dynasty, Tokyo, 1968, p. 58, nos. 103-4. It is interesting to note that the excavated armrest is also raised on four legs on either side and its height (48 cm.) is very similar to that of the present lot, leaving the possibility that the present table may have also been used as an armrest.

    The results of three radiocarbon analyses performed on the present table place the date of the wood between 1037-1268, and the lacquer between 1320-1423. While the table may therefore be of earlier date than the lacquer, the latest its date of construction can be is early 14th century-early 15th century.

    Provenance

    Sammy Y. Lee & Wangs Co., Hong Kong, 1973.


    Literature

    Lee Yu-kuan, Oriental Lacquer Art, New York/Tokyo, 1972, pp. 298-9, no. 228.
    M. Beurdeley, Chinese Furniture, Tokyo, New York and San Francisco, 1979, no. 35.