19th c, Northern Elm, Shanxi. 32″w, 14″ d, 19.5″ h.
This pair of benches show a classically graceful profile not shown in many stools of this late age. It is constructed in the traditional mortise-and-tenon method with tenon heads showing on four sides of the inward-slanting top molding. The seat panel consists of a cane matting floating recessed within a beaded framework and strengthened underneath by wood underpinning and cross bars. Below the seat is a narrow waist recessed between the beaded lower edge of the top’s molded edge and the beaded top edge of the corner leg frame members. The lines of the frame members are straight and plain, broken only by a “continuous life” or “wandering clouds” design in the middle of the front and back stretches and the inner beading that continuous down to hoof feet. A humpback stretcher spans the legs on four sides, adding a graceful profile to an otherwise common piece of furniture. The bench is further enhanced in appearance by the beautiful grains of the northern elm. The pair is in excellent condition.