15th/16th C, Northern Elm, Shanxi. Beautifully carved; original iron pulls and d-hammered nails; excellent patina. 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 drawers show dove-tail construction. The spindly iron drawer-pulls are original. Each deeply recessed taohuan panel has a beaded narrow oblong shape openwork carving dissected in the middle by relief carving of a rosette, and a lobe at either end. The drawers at the top and the taohuan panels below them 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 which do not seem to be needed for the construction but more for valued decoration as metal was an expensive commodity during that early age. 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 piece was once coated with a black lacquer but almost all of it has faded with age, with only the top panel showing patches of it, exposing the original elm wood preserved with natural tree lacquer. It has an excellent patina. Nothing has been done to compromise this table since it was found in Shanxi.