Chinese Opium Table

19th C, elm, found in Beijing.

This box or low table is an unique opium gadgets storing table.  It has a thick black-lacquered top that lifts up to reveal a storage compartment, and a side drawer that slides out to expose a shallow storage space with a small drawer and slots for paraphernalia at each end. The box has a red-lacquered body recessed behind black lacquered beaded frame with humpback stretchers spanning the frame members. These side members are decorated with relief-carving of angular scrolls designs towards the bottom.  On each side of the box between the humpback stretcher and top frame member is a beautiful brass stylized ruyi cartouche.  This is a unique piece seldom seen even in China today.  (With a low stand, it would make a nice chairside table).