Square stools of this large size are often referred to as ’meditation’ stools as their size allows the user to sit on them cross-legged. These large square stools were made in various designs, such as the huanghuali example with double humpbacked stretchers and double-reeded members in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated by Wang Shixiang in Connoisseurship of Chinese Furniture, 1990, vol. II, p. 20, pl. A7, of slightly smaller size (70 cm. square), and another huanghuali stool in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. Piccus sold at Christie’s , New York, 18 September 1997, lot 57, of slightly larger size (80 cm. square), where it is called a meditation platform. This latter stool has a ‘leg-encircling’ high stretcher set with pairs of decorative ovals. The style of both of these published examples was influenced by the construction of bamboo furniture, unlike the Flacks stool which has a cusped apron finely carved with scrolling tendrils and a beaded edge, a type of apron more usually seen on kang tables, such as the example sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 1 June 2016, lot 3250. On the present stool, however, this elegant apron joins legs of square section terminating in hoofed feet rather than the more usual cabriole legs of most kang tables.
Huanghuali meditation stools of this large size and quality are extremely rare.