A HUANGHUALI SIX-POSTER CANOPY BED, JIAZICHUANG
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
A HUANGHUALI SIX-POSTER CANOPY BED, JIAZICHUANG

QING DYNASTY, 18TH-19TH CENTURY

Details
A HUANGHUALI SIX-POSTER CANOPY BED, JIAZICHUANG
QING DYNASTY, 18TH-19TH CENTURY
The rectangular bed frame is with a soft-mat seat set above a high waist, and decorated with bamboo-form struts dividing confronted chi dragons, supported by the stepped apron moulding. The recessed apron is carved in low relief with leafy scrolls, lingzhi fungus and chi dragons, supported on cabriole legs with animal-masks at the shoulder and terminating in claw-and-ball-feet. The front railings are divided into three horizontal openwork sections, the lower carved with writhing chi dragons, the middle carved with a cartouche containing a backward-glancing Qilin in a landscape scene, and the top is carved with a circular decorative brace enclosing a chi dragon. The four corner posts are connected by railings with the identical lower frieze and upper decorative brace. The central section is carved with Shou medallions and entwined dragons and the upper panels are well carved with confronted dragons and stylised Shou characters beneath spandrals of interlocked dragons.
87 5/8 x 87 1/8 x 61 1/2 in. (227.1 x 221.2 x 156 cm.)
Provenance
Peter Lai Antiques
Sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 November 2011, lot 3075

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Ruben Lien
Ruben Lien

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Lot Essay

Canopy beds have either six or four posts. It was common practice to use drapery to create a private world within a closed curtain, and examples can be seen in Ming and Qing woodblock prints. The current example is typically carved with auspicious symbols should as the Shou roundels, lingzhi fungus, and dragons. A canopy bed of comparable construction and design with backward-glancing qilin, formerly from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture Collection, was sold at Christie's New York, 19 September 1996, lot 62. It has been mentioned that the qilin decorative motif with its association on rank badges suggested that the original owner of the bed was the wife of a high Qing official, cf. Wang Shixiang, et al., Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Furniture, 1995.

A closely related canopy bed was included in the exhibition, Beyond the Screen, illustrated by N. Berliner in the Catalogue, 2000, no. 16. Two other related examples are known: one from the Great Mosque in Xi'an and the other in the Palace Museum, illustrated in Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (I), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2002, pp. 6-9, no.2. It has been suggested that their production was from a specialised workshop in northern China over several generations, see Curtis Evarts, Beyond the Screen, 2000, pp. 58-59.

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