Demountable trestle-leg tables, which are made to be easily disassembled to facilitate transport, are very rare. There appear to be two types of demountable, recessed trestle-leg tables. The first type, which includes the current table, exhibits straight legs, which are set into shoe feet. The second variant has everted feet flanking raised aprons, such as the example sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27 November 2013, lot 3571. Trestle-leg tables tend to feature long, single-plank tops and thick members, which makes the massive, single burl-plank of this table exceptionally rare. The natural knotted qualities of burl would make any panel of this massive size difficult to acquire. It is more common to find small burl-inset tables, such as one illustrated by R. Jacobsen and N. Grindley, Classical Chinese Furniture, Minneapolis, 1999, pp. 108-9, no. 34.
The clustered and swirled graining of the burl panel is suggestive of a landscape or abstract painting. Burl panels were often incorporated into furniture to provide a decorative element, and the aesthetic created a striking contrast between the textured graining of burl and the amber tones of huanghuali. When chosen for table tops, the abstract patterning was meant to enhance displays of antiques and works of art. The natural qualities of the burl would have been attractive to scholars and poets who have long found inspiration in the natural world.