Mid-size Red Lacquer Painted Cabinet

18th Century

Elm, red lacquer, original hardware.

Shanxi Province

This cabinet has the overhanging cap frame style typical of the Shanxi Region.  The front is entirely red-lacquered, and is decorated with gilded floral paintings, while the top and recessed side panel are lacquered black.  The painted motifs of flowers and birds, and the T-fret “thunder pattern” intertwined with the swastika design together mean unlimited wealth, and a wish by the owner for protection of the family from evil, many male progeny, peace, happiness, rich blessings, and longevity.

 

The interior has a shelf and extra storage space hidden behind the front apron with the “running dragon” design, popular in Emperor Qianlong period.

 

Ming Carved Wood Dragons (pair)

15th/16th Century

16” w. 10” h. 9” d.

In temples, dragon figures signify as protectors of the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha).  This pair of dragons is from a temple that was dismantled after the Revolution.  It came directly to us from China.

 

The pair was originally gilded and painted with at least five natural mineral colors, but the colors and gilding have faded.   Each dragon is superbly deep carved out of one piece of wood.  Each shows a liveliness and fierceness befitting such a revered creature.

 

Tall Black Lacquer Cabinet with Gilt Painting

Mid 1800s.

Elm, original lock-plate

Shanxi Province

In temples, dragon figures signify as protectors of the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha).  This pair of dragons is from a temple that was dismantled after the Revolution.  It came directly to us from China.

 

The pair was originally gilded and painted with at least five natural mineral colors, but the colors and gilding have faded.   Each dragon is superbly deep carved out of one piece of wood.  Each shows a liveliness and fierceness befitting such a revered creature.

 

Square Cabriole Legs Table with Skirted Apron

17th/18th Century

Sophora, (Huai)

Shanxi Province

This table has a traditional formalized style with archaistic decorations.  The top is made of a thick piece of Sophora, an extremely dense wood with very deep grains.  It became extinct after the Ming period due to its consistent use as a building material because the wood also resists moisture and insect damage.   The wood is characterized by beautiful deep grains that hardly need carvings.

The table has a top edged with “water-stopping” molding, and a beaded waist with deep relief carving of stylized dragons with scrolling bodies confronting a “long life” design in the middle.  Below the waist is a wide arched skirt displaying deep relief carvings consisting of Buddhist symbols, the “Eight Treasures” and the “Attributes of the Scholar” in folklore.  The cabriole legs are overhung by the skirted apron at the top part, then gracefully swelled out in front but stay flat in the back, terminating in a claw-like scroll feet attached to humpback base stretchers.

Below the waist is a wide arched skirt, with its surface beautifully used as a foil to display deep relief carvings of archaistic decorations.  The carvings consist of some Buddhist symbols, as well as the Eight Treasures and Attributes of the Scholar in folklore.  The cabriole legs are overhung by the skirted apron at the top part, then gracefully swelled out in front but stay flat in the back, terminating in claw-like scroll feet attached to the humpback base stretchers.

This table was found in Shanxi and survived in excellent condition.  As it never left China until it became part of our collection, we can attribute its provenance as Shanxi, China.

 

Pair of Armchairs with Rectangular Spiral Pattern Rails

18th Century

Elm

38.5 h.  25”w.  18.75”d

The form of these chairs is distinguished by its arms and back-splat constructed in a rectangular spiral pattern known as “guaizhi”.  The top of the backrest backrest is slightly arched back, with the rest divided ided into three deeply recessed and beaded panels, each with relief carvings containing auspicious symbols. The back of each backrest has the Chinese characters meaning “eternal peace” written in the middle of the splat.

 

Each one chair has an unusually wide head seat.  It has a narrow waist from which an all-around beaded apron arches out to join four “sword ridge” molded stretchers, before ended on feet incised with a scroll pattern.  The middle of each apron has a beaded archaic cloud-scroll design signifying a wish for many blessings to rain down from heaven, a design evolved during the Qing period.

 

This pair of chairs is in excellent condition.  It has retained its original thick dark lacquer coating, which has become finely crackled with age on some surfaces, giving them a crusty leathery look that gives the chair character.  These chairs, with “guaizhi” rail, slightly tilted crest-rail and extra wide seat for the comfort of the sitter, likely mean they were made for someone of high status.

 

Ming Black/Red Lacquered Chest

Mid 17th C. (Late Ming)

Original lacquer over core wood; original hardware

Shanxi

37½” h. 34” w. 21” d

This chest survived with unique original metalwork, which consists of slender triple lock-plates on the pair of door panels in front, and door hinge-plates with big, nail-heads that add decorative interest to the chest.  The door panels have paintings of the popular “Hundred Antiquities” design favored by the scholar-official class, but the colors have now faded, with only black outlines.  The main body sits on a two-tiers base, with each tier divided by a black ridged molding. The first tier consists of a recessed waist divided into four red “taohuan” panels with lobed ends, each separated by a strut. Below the waist section, the base panel has a broad black scrolling pattern above a slightly recessed red ground below.

 

The top of this piece originally has a very thick coat of black lacquer, which has thinned with age, as labor-intensive heavily lacquered pieces often do.  A marble slab is put there now to protect the thinned lacquered panel so any heavy item can be safely placed on the top without further damaging the original coating.  The piece is all-original and exhibits patina of old age.

 

Decorative metalwork on furniture seldom survives The Chinese Cultural Revolution as during that period, metalworks were commonly confiscated to be melted down for military and industrial use.  The survival of this original metalwork adds value to the piece.

 

Famille-Rose Quadrangle Porcelain Vase-Lamp

19th Century - Qianlong Period

Each of the four rectangular white porcelain glazed panel shows painting of a high official, or a court lady, richly dressed in famille-rose colors robes, relaxing and enjoying the outdoors under colorful floating clouds, in a garden setting.  The vase has a pair of orange color handles in the shape of a fu-dog head biting a ring.

 

The vase sits on a Chinese archaic style carved wood base, which then mounted on an European style two-tiers bronze and etched socket pedestal.  The bronze old-fashioned lamp post is capped by a white jade plaque with relief carvings of “double happiness”, “long life”, and “good fortune” Chinese characters, which makes it likely the vase was given as a wedding present to a couple from a wealthy family.  It is all-original except for the shade.