Square Cabriole Legs Table with Skirted Apron

17th/18th Century
Sophora, (Huai)
Shanxi Province

This table has a traditional formalized style with archaistic decorations.  The top is made of a thick piece of Sophora, an extremely dense wood with very deep grains.  It became extinct after the Ming period due to its consistent use as a building material because the wood also resists moisture and insect damage.   The wood is characterized by beautiful deep grains that hardly need carvings.

The table has a top edged with “water-stopping” molding, and a beaded waist with deep relief carving of stylized dragons with scrolling bodies confronting a “long life” design in the middle.  Below the waist is a wide arched skirt displaying deep relief carvings consisting of Buddhist symbols, the “Eight Treasures” and the “Attributes of the Scholar” in folklore.  The cabriole legs are overhung by the skirted apron at the top part, then gracefully swelled out in front but stay flat in the back, terminating in a claw-like scroll feet attached to humpback base stretchers.

Below the waist is a wide arched skirt, with its surface beautifully used as a foil to display deep relief carvings of archaistic decorations.  The carvings consist of some Buddhist symbols, as well as the Eight Treasures and Attributes of the Scholar in folklore.  The cabriole legs are overhung by the skirted apron at the top part, then gracefully swelled out in front but stay flat in the back, terminating in claw-like scroll feet attached to the humpback base stretchers.

This table was found in Shanxi and survived in excellent condition.  As it never left China until it became part of our collection, we can attribute its provenance as Shanxi, China.