A VERY RARE HUANGHUALI COMPOUND CABINET AND HAT CHEST, DINGXIANGGUI
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more The 'Piccus' Cabinet
A VERY RARE HUANGHUALI COMPOUND CABINET AND HAT CHEST, DINGXIANGGUI

17TH CENTURY

Details
A VERY RARE HUANGHUALI COMPOUND CABINET AND HAT CHEST, DINGXIANGGUI
17TH CENTURY
Both the cabinet and hat chest have single-panel doors fitted flush to the frame, those of the hat chest opening to reveal a shelved interior and those of the cabinet to reveal a shelved interior and two drawers above a concealed storage space. The square-section legs are joined by shaped beaded aprons centered by a stylized lotus and stylized ruyi-form spandrels. The feet are clad in baitong sabots. The cabinet is fitted with baitong metal hardware comprising octagonal cloud-form lockplates and similarly shaped hexagonal hinges with etched borders, and double fish-shaped pulls.
99 ½ in. (252.7 cm.) high, 45 in. (114.3 cm.) wide, 22 ½ in. (57.2 cm.) deep
Provenance
Ever Arts Gallery, Hong Kong.
The Mr. & Mrs. Robert P. Piccus Collection; Christie's New York, 18 September 1997, lot 32.
Nicholas Grindley Ltd., London.
Private collection, London.
Nicholas Grindley Ltd., London.
The Marie Theresa L. Virata (1923-2015) Collection.
Literature
Curtis Evarts, 'Classical Chinese Furniture in the Piccus Collection', Journal of Classical Chinese Furniture Society, Autumn 1992, p. 24, fig. 29.
Special notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.
Sale room notice
Please note in the provenance the present cabinet was lot 56 from The Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. Piccus Collection, sold at Christie’s New York, 18 September 1997.

Lot Essay

Compound cabinets combine a large square-corner cabinet with a small upper cabinet. It is not unusual to find cabinets constructed partially, if not entirely, from camphor (zhangmu) which was prized for its ability to repel insects.
Clothing was never hung vertically, but instead robes were folded and laid flat in chests or on shelves. Several cabinets are constructed with folding hinged doors, such as a very rare pair of inlaid huanghuali cabinets located at the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated by Wang Shixiang, Classic Chinese Furniture-Ming and Early Qing Dynasties, Chicago, 1968, no. 149, and a pair of huanghuali cabinets in the Victoria & Albert Museum given as part of the Addis Bequest (fig.1). These hinged doors are retained by sliding wedges to allow for the easy removal of the doors so that a court robe could be folded vertically and placed flat on the interior shelf.
The central lockplates on the 'Addis' cabinets are identical to the baitong metalwork and display the same octagonal cloud-form lockplate and double fish-shaped drop handles of the present cabinet. When compared to the 'Addis' cabinets, the 'Piccus' cabinet displays a more elegant and balanced design. The central lockplate is the largest design element and is elegantly paired with a slightly smaller variation on the octagonal cloud-form lockplate of the hinges. A notable feature of the cabinet is found in the sensitive consideration of the size and form of the metalwork in contrast to the blank surface of the attractively-grained huanghuali, seen in the slightly smaller lock-plate and hinges on the upper section compared to those of the lower cabinet.

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