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AN IMPORTANT AND EXTREMELY RARE ZITAN FOLDING STOOL, JIAOWU
AN IMPORTANT AND EXTREMELY RARE ZITAN FOLDING STOOL, JIAOWU

17TH-18TH CENTURY

Details
AN IMPORTANT AND EXTREMELY RARE ZITAN FOLDING STOOL, JIAOWU
17TH-18TH CENTURY
The stool is of elegant form with a woven seat joined by two thick members forming the upper frame, above two pairs of hinged legs of circular section joined at the middle with metal hardware and at the front by the footrest above a shaped apron and two vertical struts. The whole is supported on flat, wedge-shaped feet, and the wood is of attractive grain and colour.
18 7/8 in. (48 cm.) high, 23 in. (59 cm.) wide, 15 3/8 in. (39 cm.) deep
Provenance
Important Chinese Furniture: Formerly the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture Collection; Christie's New York, 19 September 1996, lot 95.
Christie's New York, 19-20 September 2013, lot 1580
The Heveningham Hall Collection
Literature
Grace Wu Bruce, Classic Chinese Furniture in Tzu-T'an Wood, Arts of Asia, November-December 1991, p. 144, fig. 10.
Sarah Handler, The Ubiquitous Stool, JCCFS, Summer 1994, p. 21, fig. 29.
Wang Shixiang and Curtis Evarts, Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, Chicago and San Francisco, 1995, p. 30, no. 14.
Sarah Handler, Austere Luminosity of Classical Chinese Furniture, Hong Kong, 2001, p. 101. fig. 7.22.

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Marco Almeida (安偉達)
Marco Almeida (安偉達) SVP, Senior International Specialist, Head of Department

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Lot Essay

According to Curtis Evarts and Wang Shixiang in Masterpieces From the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, Chicago and San Francisco, 1995, p. 30, folding stools in zitan are extremely rare. The authors note that while similar examples exist in huanghuali, their members are often carved with decorative elements. The present stool may have been left unadorned to highlight both the elegant shape and attractive grain.

Perhaps the only other known example in zitan is that illustrated by Grace Wu Bruce in Chan Chair and Qin Bench: The Dr. S.Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture II, Hong Kong, 1998, pp. 78-9, no. 10, where it is dated to the 16th/17th century. A closely related huanghuali folding stool is published by Wang Shixiang in Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties, vol. II, p. 31, no A40. Wang refers in vol. I, p. 35, to the illustrated example as being imperial, and discusses the construction, with metal rods passing through both legs and being secured by decorative washers called huyanqian, which can also be seen on the present stool. Wang also notes that the construction, material, hardware and weaving are all of superior quality, and indicative of highly skilled and talented carpenters.

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