Ming Three Drawer Altar Table

15th/16th C, Northern Elm, Shanxi.  Beautifully carved; original iron pulls and hand-hammered nails; good condition.  84″ w, 24″ d, 30.5″ h

This table exhibits an early traditional style and construction. The top is made of a floating panel for adjusting to changing climate, and is attached to the frame members with standard mitered, mortise-and-tenon joints. The legs are visibly tenoned through to the top.

The table has three drawers below the top, and four “taohuan” panels below these drawers.  (“Taohuan” is the general Chinese term for narrow, usually horizontally oriented decorative panels associated with early style traditional furniture in China).  Each drawer front has a panel carved with a recessed oblong-shaped design with cusps and beading around the edge.  The spindly iron drawer-pulls are original.  The taohuan panels have beaded borders and lobed ends, with each one decorated with a carved rosette in the middle.  The drawers and taohuan panels are separated by “sword ridge” molded stretchers and same shape struts.  Scattered around the drawers and the taohuan panels are hand-hammered boss-head nails.  The apron stretches from a long narrow center to a wide floriated apron-head at each end.  The long spandrels along the legs have floriated edges.  Each end of the table has a recessed panel and double stretchers between the legs.

The original dark lacquer on the table top has faded, leaving patches of it scattered around the top, exposing the natural color of the wood deepened and became richer polished with natural  tree lacquer.  Nothing has been done to compromise this piece since it was found in Shanxi and brought to Beijing.

Price: $79,000