Altar Table with Side Drawers

Mid Qing Dynasty (Early 1800’s)
Northern Elm
Shanxi Provence
34½” h. 76¾” w. 15” d.

This altar table with scrolled inverted flanges is obviously made for a scholar or a high official. The quality shows from the craftsmanship. The top is constructed from one thick solid plank. 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 border surrounding carvings of running dragons (favorite design during the Emporer Ching Lung period) with a canopy (royal grace) in the middle and a bat (symbol of happiness and prosperity) at each corner. Below the smooth top, all the front edges are beaded. Of special interest is a drawer coming out of each end of this table. Below the drawer, between the legs is a panel with openwork carving of a symbol of “long life” flanked on each side by that of a bat with each wing tip grasping an interlocking circle meaning everlasting.

This table is all original and is in excellent condition.