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A PAIR OF HUANGHUALI HORSESHOEBACK ARMCHAIRS, QUANYI
A PAIR OF HUANGHUALI HORSESHOEBACK ARMCHAIRS, QUANYI

LATE 16TH/EARLY 17TH CENTURY

Details
A PAIR OF HUANGHUALI HORSESHOEBACK ARMCHAIRS, QUANYI
Late 16th/early 17th century
The rectangular C-curved backsplat carved in relief with a lower ruyi-shaped panel depicting a carp leaping out from waves towards the upper similarly shaped openwork panel with a vigorously coiled dragon, all below the curving toprail supported on the round-section back posts and tapered serpentine side posts, the horseshoe terminating in rounded hooks beyond the four posts set back from the corners, the hard mat seat on square-section legs joined by high square-section humped stretchers and a stepped stretcher frame above the feet
39 2/3in. (100.7cm.) high, 23½in. (59.6cm.) wide, 18¼in. (46.4 cm.) deep (2)
Literature
Grace Wu Bruce, Dreams of Chu Tan Chamber and Romance with Huanghuali Wood: The Dr. S Y Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture, Hong Kong, 1991, cat. 4, pp. 28-29.
Yip Shing Yiu, "Collecting Ming Furniture of Huang Hua-Li Wood," Arts of Asia, XXI:3 (May-June 1991), pp. 119-124.
Exhibited
Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 20 September-24 November, 1991.
Phoenix Art Museum, 1996-1999.
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 18-26 November, 1999.
Post Lot Text
See detail one preceeding page

Lot Essay

Refer to "An Interview with Dr. S.Y. Yip" at the front of this catalogue, p. ADD PAGE #, for the circumstances in which these two chairs were acquired (separately) and re-united.

Horseshoeback armchairs with set back front posts are rare. Compare the set of four horseshoeback armchairs sold at Christie's, New York, Important Chinese Furniture, Formerly the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture Collection, 19 September, 1996, lot 41, with arms that continue in a curve that sweeps back direct to the front posts which, like the present example, are set back from the corners.

Another similarity is the "tianyuan difang" (round heaven, square earth) design, in which frame members above the seat are round-sectioned and those below are square-sectioned. This is striking in the single piece that forms each of the square-sectioned back legs and continues above the seat to become round-sectioned.
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