In Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture, Hong Kong, 1990, vol. I, pp. 54-56, Wang Shixiang notes that the form of the present table is referred to as a jiuzhuo, and illustrates an example in black lacquer in vol. II, p. 78, no. B36. While the author notes that the exact origin of the name jiuzhuo is unknown, it was associated with tables of this general form which appear in Ming dynasty paintings and are used to serve wine and food.
As can be expected, variations on this type of table are well known, although the majority of examples appear to be in lacquer as opposed to hardwood. The form seems to have become popular by the early Ming dynasty, as evidenced by a red lacquer low reading table of similar form, in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, illustrated by R. Jacobsen and N. Grindley in Classical Chinese Furniture, Minnesota, 1999, pp. 92-3, no. 26, where it is dated to the Yongle period. Gradually, by the middle Ming dynasty, the form grew significantly in popularity, perhaps reaching its height during the Wanli reign, as many lacquer tables in this form bear Wanli marks.
Compare with an identical table sold in these Rooms, 23 November 2004, lot 148.