Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more The 'Pan-Asian' Lamp Stands


The faceted, vertical upright supports an octagonal platform above shaped hanging spandrels, and is flanked by shaped spandrels rising from carved humped feet; together with a matching huanghuali lampstand, 20th century and a pair of lamp shades.
64 ½ in. (163.8 cm.) high, 20 ¾ in. (52.7 cm.) square
The Gustav Ecke (1896-1971) Collection, Honolulu.
The C.P. Fitzgerald (1902-1992) Collection, Sydney.
The Robert H. Ellsworth (1929-2014) Collection, New York.
The Pan-Asian Collection, New York.
Robert H. Ellsworth, New York.
The Marie Theresa L. Virata (1923-2015) Collection.
Gustav Ecke, Chinese Domestic Furniture, 1944, 143, no. 114.
Robert H. Ellsworth, Chinese Furniture: Hardwood Examples of the Ming and Early Ch'ing Dynasties, New York, 1971, pl. 141.
On loan: Denver Art Museum, 1973-1982, Acquisition Number 7.1973.1 and 7.1973.2
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 and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

Lot Essay

There are three basic forms of lamp or lantern stands constructed in wood. The most commonly found examples depicted in paintings and wood block illustrations are in the form of a tripod base with a post and out-curving arm that suspends a lantern and sometimes has a dragon-head terminal. The second form is constructed similarly to a floor or table screen with two uprights and a central adjustable post. Examples of this form include a pair in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts illustrated by Robert Jacobsen and Nicholas Grindley, Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Chicago, pp. 168-9, no. 59, and a pair formerly in the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, sold at Christie’s New York, 18 March 2015, lot 104. The present lamp stand falls into the third category, which is akin to the 'suspending lantern' stand. This design is constructed with a cruciform base and strong spandrels flanking the vertical post surmounted by a platform upon which a free-standing candlestick or dish set with a pricket would rest. An example of this type of lamp stand is depicted in a woodblock print from the Lu Ban Jing and illustrated by K. Ruitenbeek, Carpentry & Building in Late Imperial China: A Study of the Fifteenth-Century Carpenter’s Manual Lu Ban Jing, 1993, the Netherlands, p. 32, Juan II:69.

Ruitenbeek reconstructs various forms of furniture using the measurements listed in the Lu Ban Jing. The present lamp stand follows the description of a lamp stand in Lu Ban Jing Juan II:71, and is called a candle stand. The published description lists the dimensions as 4 chi high (approx. 120-128 cm.), and is mounted with a round platforms, unlike the present example that have octagonal platforms. The manual cites that the base should measure 8 cun 4 fen in diameter (roughly 25 cm.), however, this is most likely a transposition error, as this would create a very unstable stand, further there are no extant examples of lamp stands of this dimension.

A closely related pair of huanghuali lamp stands with shaped standing spandrels and elaborately carved feet is illustrated by Philip Mak in Furnishing the Gracious Chinese Home, Hong Kong, 2016, p. 62, no. 16. For additional related lamp stands, see a pair of huanghuali lamp stands currently in the Nelson-Atkins Museum, illustrated by Wang Shixiang, Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture, 1990, E47, p. 100 and p. 188, and a pair of zitan lamp stands formerly in the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, sold at Christie’s New York, 19 September 1996, lot 60.

More from The Marie Theresa L. Virata Collection of Asian Art: A Family Legacy

View All
View All