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 ancient table is all original.  It 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.  The deeply recessed taohuan panels have beaded borders and lobed ends, with each one decorated with a carved rosette in the middle.  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 coated with a black lacquer at one time 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.  Nothing has been done to compromise this table since it was found in Shanxi.  This traditionally styled long table would make an impressive buffet table.

Price: enquire