17th C, walnut, Shanxi. Pair shows classical simple and elegant Ming style. Walnut high price wood in China through ages.
33½” h. 41 “ w. 20½ d.
Designed to be used together as a round table, or separated and positioned flushed against the wall, half-round tables are considered some of the most beautiful pieces of Chinese furniture, and were usually found in the central hall of elite homes
Walnut has always been considered a quality and valuable wood in China, and was sought for crafting high-quality furniture by the literati of the early period. In a publication about traditional Chinese furniture, the guru of Chinese antique furniture, Wang Shixiang, noted that early walnut furniture sourced from the Greater Shanxi region generally demonstrates refined workmanship and is extremely rare and valuable. This pair of elegantly styled half-round tables certainly fits that description.
These tables are of high-waisted style. They are constructed in the traditional mortise-and tenon method, with tenons showing at the top and side of the top panel. The perimeter edge of the top frame is shaped with a “water-stopping” molding and edged with pronounced beading at the bottom. The top houses several board panels in a floating panel style, supported underneath by three transverse braces. The waisted form is fitted with an arched apron with a pronounce cusp at intervals and beading at the hemline which continues down the sides of cabriole legs. Wooden nails are shown pinning the ‘sword-ridge” molded ends of the four cabriole legs to the apron and transverse braces underneath. The graceful cabriole legs terminate in hoof-feet standing on a semicircular base stretcher. Original dark lacquer is faded a little on the table top, otherwise the pair is in excellent condition.
Half-round tables are considered some of the most beautiful pieces of Chinese furniture made in China. They were often used as bases for heavy sculptural or ritual objects for a large temple, or at hallways of mansions to show off a favorite wall-hanging above. This pair’s simple elegance makes it easy to fit in any decor, traditional or contemporary.