The rectangular top with four drawers on either side, each drawer carved with antiques and precious objects repeated on the narrow sides of the frame, the whole supported on a pair of pedestals with zitan-clad legs of square section terminating in scroll feet, each pedestal with a single drawer on each side carved in similar fashion below an open compartment framed by scrolling clouds and above a latticework stretcher
31¾ in. (80.6 cm.) high, 62¾ in. (159.4 cm.) wide, 30 11/16 in. (77.9 cm.) deep
Acquired in Hong Kong in the 1950s, and thence by descent within the family to the present owner.

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Lot Essay

The partner's desk has its roots in Western furniture design, and may have first appeared in Europe as a type of pedestal desk developed to facilitate the work of two-person teams. This form may have gained popularity in China during the mid-Qing period, although most of the known examples of Chinese manufacture appear to date from the 19th century.

A very similar zitan and huali desk, also dated to the 19th century, was included in the Exhibition of Art Treasures from Shanghai and Hong Kong, The University of Hong Kong, 11 September 1996 - 25 January 1997, and was illustrated in the catalogue, p. 144, no. 80. For another example of a zitan pedestal desk, although not of partner's-desk configuration, dated to the Qianlong period, see Tian Jiaqing, Prosperous Age, Elegant Collection, Beijing, 2008, pp. 93-4.

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