The decorative motifs of the current lot display a strong influence from European rococo style, a feature adopted from the early Qing period onwards.
The combination of Chinese and Western motifs is represented by the use of traditional peony blooms and Daoist immortals and European style acanthus leaves and grapevine, all carefully balanced and further enhanced by a central medallion at the front of the apron, enclosing a sage, two boys and a Chinese mythical beast.
It is interesting to note that the acanthus motif was a particular favourite with the Emperor Qianlong and was adopted in the decoration of his magnificent European palaces, Xiyanglou, located in the northern part of the Yuanmingyuan.
Although tables of this shape decorated in this manner are extremely rare, the stylistic pattern using Western and Chinese plant motifs was employed on other furniture: compare a finely carved zitan cabinet decorated with western rococo floral motifs, from the Palace Museum published in Tian Jiaqing, 'Zitan and Zitan Furniture', Orientations, December, 1994, fig. 5; compare also a red sandalwood chair decorated with dahlia motifs, from the Qing Court Collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in the The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (II), Hong Kong, 2002, pl. 55.