The present side table is based on a form which has detachable legs, for use as a demountable table. Tables of this type were made to be easily disassembled to facilitate transport. However, there are several known examples with fixed legs, in which the legs have been carved to imitate their detachable counterparts. This fascination with artifice was in fashion during the eighteenth century and can be seen in exquisite examples found in the decorative arts.
See an almost identical example in tielimu and huamu illustrated by K.Lo in Classical and Vernacular Chinese Furniture in the Living Environment, Hong Kong, 1998, pp.142-3. Compare, also, a square huanghuali, fixed-leg example, dating to the late Ming dynasty, currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and illustrated by N. Berliner et al., Beyond the Screen: Chinese Furniture from the 16th and 17th Centuries, Boston, 1996, no. 22, and another square example illustrated by C. Clunas, Chinese Furniture, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1988, p. 59, pl. 47.