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A PAIR OF DALI MARBLE-INSET HUANGHUALI CONTINUOUS HORSESHOE-BACK ARMCHAIRS
A PAIR OF DALI MARBLE-INSET HUANGHUALI CONTINUOUS HORSESHOE-BACK ARMCHAIRS
A PAIR OF DALI MARBLE-INSET HUANGHUALI CONTINUOUS HORSESHOE-BACK ARMCHAIRS
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A PAIR OF DALI MARBLE-INSET HUANGHUALI CONTINUOUS HORSESHOE-BACK ARMCHAIRS
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Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EAST COAST PRIVATE COLLECTION
A PAIR OF DALI MARBLE-INSET HUANGHUALI CONTINUOUS HORSESHOE-BACK ARMCHAIRS

17TH CENTURY

Details
A PAIR OF DALI MARBLE-INSET HUANGHUALI CONTINUOUS HORSESHOE-BACK ARMCHAIRS
17TH CENTURY
The crest rail forms a continuous, elegant curve above the supporting C-shaped splat and curve downwards in a sinuous line which continue through the rectangular seat frame. Each back splat is inset with a painterly marble panel, one evocative of a lone tree in a desolate landscape and the second evocative of a stormy sea. The legs are of round section joined by stepped stretchers and a footrest at front.
37 ¾ in. (95.8 cm.) high, 23 ¼ in. (59 cm.) wide, 19 in. (48.3 cm.) deep
Provenance
Nicholas Grindley, Ltd, London, 1987.
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.

Brought to you by

Vicki Paloympis (潘薇琦)
Vicki Paloympis (潘薇琦) Vice President, Specialist, Head of Sale

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Lot Essay


The form is a variation on the more commonly seen horseshoe-back armchair, but in this example, the arms continue into the seat to form one seamless curving line. The design was inspired by the humble bamboo chair and the construction technique of bending lengths of bamboo using steam and heat. The abundance of bamboo made it popular among the lower classes, as a cost-effective and more easily portable alternative to the more luxurious huanghuali. This rare pair would have been commissioned by a wealthy family, attracted to the humble origins of bamboo furniture, but seeking the luxury and status associated with precious huanghuali.

Only a handful of examples dating to the seventeenth century are known, but there are no examples with these haunting Dali marble panels on the back splats. Chosen for their natural markings and carefully polished to reveal evocative and poetic scenes, the panels instantly transport the viewer to that contemplative place in nature that only the best panels can convey. The panel on the left is a tranquil landscape scene – a foggy morning punctuated by a lone tree – and the panel on the right is wild and untamed, recalling a turbulent sea or a powerful storm. Together, these panels add an elegance and power to these already commanding pair of chairs.

A pair, originally from a set of four, of huanghuali continuous horseshoe-back armchairs with serpentine aprons, formerly in the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, was sold at Christie’s New York: The Collection of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth Part I: Masterworks: Including Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art, Chinese and Japanese Works of Art, 17 March 2015, lot 47. A single chair of this form, with straight aprons and curved corner spandrels, formerly in the Flacks Family collection, was sold at Christie’s New York: The Flacks Family Collection: A Very Personal Selection, 16 September 2016, lot 1105. A pair of this form is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, accession number: 1971-12-1 and illustrated by J. G. Lee, "Chinese Furniture Collection," The Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. LVIII:276 (Winter 1963), p. 63, fig. 7.

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