The grand and stately proportions of the present chair are further distinguished by the richly patterned back splat carved from a single section of tightly knotted burl. The highly textured burl contrasts with the amber-yellow tones of the huanghuali members, striking a pleasing and refined aesthetic. Large sections of burl are difficult to find, as the tightly knotted grain is susceptible to splits and breaks, making this elegant C-form splat even more rare. A similarly proportioned 'southern official's hat' armchair, dated to the 17th-early 18th century, is illustrated by M. Flacks, Classical Chinese Furniture: a very personal point of view, London, 2011, p. 50-1. As with the present chair, the refined design of the chair is accentuated by the dramatic use of a single panel of abstract-patterned huamu burl.
The generous sweep of the splat provides the ideal surface to showcase the inherent beauty and variegated tone of Asian hardwoods. See a jichimu yokeback armchair of similar form and proportions, illustrated by Wang Shixiang and Curtis Evarts, Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, Chicago and San Francisco, 1995, pp. 52-3, no. 24, which shows similar treatment of the back splat. Unlike the present chair, the jichimu chair has a back splat constructed from three sections, with the largest section showcasing the feathery texture of the grain. Compare, also, another example currently in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, illustrated by R. Jacobsen, Classical Chinese Furniture in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 1999, pp. 46-7, no. 6. The elaborate huanghuali yokeback armchair, features a three-part back splat comprising a large section of textured burl.