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A MAGNIFICENT HUANGHUALI SIX-POSTER CANOPY BED, JIAZICHUANG
A MAGNIFICENT HUANGHUALI SIX-POSTER CANOPY BED, JIAZICHUANG
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Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
A MAGNIFICENT HUANGHUALI SIX-POSTER CANOPY BED, JIAZICHUANG

QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY

Details
A MAGNIFICENT HUANGHUALI SIX-POSTER CANOPY BED, JIAZICHUANG
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
The rectangular bed frame is with a soft-mat seat set above a high waist and decorated with bamboo-form struts dividing panels carved with birds and beasts among flower branches. The curvilinear apron is carved in low relief with stylised scrolls and confronted chi dragons, supported on cabriole legs with animal-masks at the shoulder and terminating in claw-and-ball-feet. The four corner posts and two front posts are joined with horizontal openwork panels of three sections forming a lattice-work gallery. The lower pierced with stylised dragons, the middle reticulated with compound ruyi blooms and floral designs with chilong roundels, and the upper carved with begonia roundels, all below a top rail and canopy reticulated with birds and flower branches flanked by entwined chi dragons among scrolls.
91 in. (231 cm) high: 88 3/8 in (225.5 cm) wide; 61 1/2 in. (156.1 cm)
Provenance
Chan Shing Kee, Hong Kong, April 2015
The Heveningham Hall Collection
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, tortoiseshell and crocodile. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Marco Almeida (安偉達)
Marco Almeida (安偉達) Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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Lot Essay

In contrast to the day-bed, ta such as lot 2803, or couch-bed, luohanchuang, which were often found in men’s scholars studios or bedrooms, the canopy bed was generally associated with the female setting. The canopy bed would have been the most important part of a woman’s dowry when she wed, as most important function in the female setting was for the conception of children, particularly sons. The form of the canopy bed subtly mirrors traditional Chinese architecture, many of the complex joins found in Chinese furniture are derived from architectural carpentry techniques. When viewed from the front, the basic form of the six-post canopy bed emulates the appearance of a traditional three-bay building, with the posts standing in for columns and the latticework railings echoing openwork balustrades.

The form of the canopy bed subtly mirrors traditional Chinese architecture, and likely developed from the application of the same set of skills; many of the complex joins found in Chinese furniture are derived from architectural carpentry techniques. When viewed from the front, the basic form of the six-post canopy bed in particular emulates the appearance of a traditional three-bay building, with the posts standing in for columns and the latticework railings echoing openwork balustrades. As such, the bed was in essence a room within a room, allowing for privacy when needed and serving as a social hub during the day.

The present bed is exquisitely carved and sumptuously designed, which belongs to a group of canopy beds that were probably produced in the same workshop in northern China, tailor-made to specific commissions. Comparable examples that share many common features with the present bed include a huanghuali bed in the collection of Beijing Palace Museum, and another huanghuali bed in The Great Mosque in Xi’an. A closely related example with qilin, chilong and shou motifs previously in the collection of Classical Chinese Furniture Museum, was sold in Christie’s New York, 19 September 1996, lot 62, and later sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 9 October 2020, lot 53 for HK$23,165,000 (fig. 1).

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