Audio (English): A Magnificent Pair of Huanghuali Southern Official's Hat Armchairs, Nanguanmaoyi
Audio (Chinese): A Magnificent Pair of Huanghuali Southern Official's Hat Armchairs, Nanguanmaoyi
A MAGNIFICENT PAIR OF HUANGHUALI SOUTHERN OFFICIAL'S HAT ARMCHAIRS, NANGUANMAOYI
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PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE MIDWESTERN COLLECTION
A MAGNIFICENT PAIR OF HUANGHUALI SOUTHERN OFFICIAL'S HAT ARMCHAIRS, NANGUANMAOYI

17TH CENTURY

Details
A MAGNIFICENT PAIR OF HUANGHUALI SOUTHERN OFFICIAL'S HAT ARMCHAIRS, NANGUANMAOYI
17TH CENTURY
Each beautifully proportioned with narrow crest rail supported on slender, gracefully tapered and curved rear posts which flank the S-shaped splat, above the hard mat seat set within the beaded frame with rounded edges, the elegantly curved, slender arm rails supported on vertical posts and terminating in widely outswept front rails, all above plain aprons and spandrels, the whole supported on legs of rounded-square section joined by stepped stretchers and the footrest above a plain apron, the wood of attractive golden yellowish-brown tone
40 7/8 in. (103.8 cm.) high, 21¼ in. (54 cm.) wide, 17¼ in. (43.7 cm.) deep (2)
Provenance
Nicholas Grindley, 1991.
Literature
Sharon Leece and Michael Freeman, China Style, Hong Kong, 2002, p. 56.

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Christopher Engle
Christopher Engle

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Lot Essay

The present pair of southern official's hat armchairs, also known as 'continuous yokeback armchairs' for the pipe joints which join the crest and back rails, is a superb example of the type. While many arm chairs of this form feature thick members and rigid lines, the present pair, with their slender, elegant shape and graceful curves, have a most refined aesthetic, and are perhaps amongst the most graceful examples of this form. The rear posts, which continue to form the rear legs, also add to the highly successful shape, as they gently taper in to frame the splat, while at the same time exhibit a delicate and elegant S-shaped curve. The sweeping arm rails terminate in a beautiful edge which flares out at the joint. The use of entirely uncarved surfaces also suggests that the carpenter sought beauty in form andmaterial. Further testament to this is the fact that the carpenter chose an especially beautiful huanghuali with a rich and lustrous golden-yellow colour.

The delicate proportions and slender members may also suggest that the present pair of chairs was used in the chambers of a Court lady. A chair of similar slender, though much more rigid form, can be seen in a painting of ladies playing weiqi at a square corner-leg table entitled 'Palace Women' by Leng Mei (fl. ca.1703-1717), published in Special Exhibition of Furniture in Paintings, The National PalaceMuseum, Taipei, 1996, pp. 70-1, no. 29. (Fig.1)

Several examples of the more common form of southern official's hat armchair, with thicker members, straight lines, and carved decoration are published. Compare the pair of this more common type illustrated by Robert D. Jacobsen and Nicholas Grindley in Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 1999, pp. 52-3, no. 9. Another example of this type is illustrated in Ming Qing Gong Ting Jia Ju Da Guan, Beijing, 2006, p. 101, no. 79, where it is dated to the Ming dynasty.

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