Early 1800’s, Northern Elm, Shanxi. Quality construction with beautiful carved antiquity designs; drawers slides out at each end; excellent condition.
34½” h. 76¾” w. 15” d.
This altar table shows excellent craftsmanship. The top is constructed from one thick solid plank and ends with arresting scrolled inverted flanges. Below it, four framed recessed panels show relief carving depicting the scholarly objects including the Four Accomplishments of the Scholar: Pictorial scrolls, books, chess board and musical instrument (zitar). The front apron has a key-fret or wandering-clouds design border (signifies a wish for wealth from above) continuing down the side of the inner legs as spandrels. Attached to this part of the apron and spandrels is a magnificent openwork carving of the running dragons (favorite design during the Emporer Qianlong period) with a canopy (royal grace) in the middle and a bat (symbol of happiness and prosperity) at each corner. This long table has no drawer opening out from the front but has one sliding out at each end. Below the drawer and between the legs is a panel with openwork carving of a symbol of “long life” flanked on each side by motif of a bat with each wing tip grasping an interlocking circle meaning “everlasting”.
This table, with outstanding construction and superb carvings of auspicious motifs, shows it was made for someone of the elite class. It is sourced from Shanxi and was collected in the1900s when China opened to the outside world. A beautiful piece like this would be hard to find anywhere in the market place today. It is all-original and is in excellent condition. Its beauty and elegance will add distinction to any room, traditional or contemporary.