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A PAIR OF RARE HUANGHUALI RECTANGULAR SIDE TABLES, BANZHUO
A PAIR OF RARE HUANGHUALI RECTANGULAR SIDE TABLES, BANZHUO
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A PAIR OF RARE HUANGHUALI RECTANGULAR SIDE TABLES, BANZHUO

17TH-18TH CENTURY

Details
A PAIR OF RARE HUANGHUALI RECTANGULAR SIDE TABLES, BANZHUO
17TH-18TH CENTURY
Each table has a single floating panel set in a rectangular frame with double-reeded aprons wrapping completely around the exterior to simulate bamboo. The wraparound stretchers are joined by pairs of interlocked-ring struts. The whole is raised on thick legs of round section.
35 in. (88.9 cm.) high, 43 ½ in. (110.4 cm.) wide, 30 ½ in. (77.5 cm.) deep
Provenance
Grace Wu Bruce, Co. Ltd, Hong Kong and London.
Glen Alpine Collection, South Africa.
Eskenazi Ltd., London.
Exhibited
Eskenazi, London, Chinese huanghuali furniture from a private collection, 3 - 25 November 2011, no. 14.

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Michael Bass

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Lot Essay

The present pair of tables appears to be a very rare example of banzhou (half-tables) surviving as a pair.
The flush-corner-leg design allows the tables to easily fit together to form a square table, enabling a great deal of flexibility in their use. They could be separated and used either as side tables throughout the home, or put together to form a square table of the same proportions as an ‘Eight Immortals’ table. The majority of Chinese furniture was not intended to be static in the home, and many of the classic forms were designed with versatility and the practicality of moving them around the home in mind.

As noted by Wang Shixiang in, Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture, vol. I, Hong Kong, 1990, p. 54-55, Banzhuo literally means "half table" and is so-called for its size, which is approximately half that of the 'eight immortals table'." Wang also goes on to explain that the banzhuo was mainly used for serving wine and food, and was gradually replaced by the circular table during the mid-Qing period. The banzhuo has sometimes also been referred to as a jiezhuo, literally meaning extension table. The name (extension table) comes from the practice of using these tables to augment the size of the largest square table known as the 'eight immortals table' or baxianzhuo.
Interestingly, another identical pair of banzhuo of bamboo-form design, is illustrated by G. Wu Bruce, Living with Ming - the Lu Ming Shi Collection, Hong Kong, 2000, p. 119, no. 27, suggesting that they may even have formed a set of four.

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