For dining, appreciating antiques, or writing (fig. 1), the square table is one of the most versatile forms in Chinese furniture. The humpback stretchers provide added strength while lightening the overall appearance, and not interfering with the knees of the sitters. Several variations on the present form exist, including waisted and waistless examples, and those with decorative struts inset between the apron and stretcher. A huanghuali table of the latter type, dated to the late 16th or early 17th century, is illustrated by Grace Wu Bruce in The Dr. S.Y. Yip Collection of Classic Chinese Furniture, Hong Kong, 1991, pp. 80-1, no. 27.