16th/17th C, Northern Elm or Sophora, Shanxi. Shallow everted ends on top and round legs show Ming classical style,
31” h. 55” w. 14” d.
This recessed-leg table is of traditional, classic style. The top is made of one solid plank, with low everted flanges capping the ends. The wood on this plank has a very distinctive tangential deep grain pattern unusual to be found in northern elm but often in sophora, an extinct wood after Ming Dynasty. This textured-look gives character to the table and needs no ornate decoration. The legs as well as the side stretchers are round. The spandrels are very simply designed. Hand-hammered boss-head nails (the kind appeared as far back as Yuan Dynasty but seldom after early Qing) appear on this table. All these characteristics were influenced by Confucius philosophy of living simply and reducing artifice to a minimum in order to make the most of the material used. Dignity, simplicity of structure, and balance was the ideal of the day. This is a typical Ming classical table.
(An identically styled altar table with same color wood was shown in a museum).