Shanxi Antique Elm Altar Table
Shanxi, circa 1820
This long, narrow table dates back to the early nineteenth century, when it was produced in Shanxi province. It would have been used originally as an altar table, positioned against a wall with ancestor portraits placed above. Joss sticks and other offerings to the family's ancestors would then have been placed on the table top. In venerating deceased family members in this way it was believed that the living family would be blessed in return.
Like the majority of good quality Shanxi furniture that has survived over time, the table is in elm wood, with the original dark finish now worn on the thick, deep grained top surface. More remains on the apron below and on the thick, rounded legs, which are supported by double stretchers. The table top is made with a panel set within wide frames and the elm wood has aged to add a lovely depth and character to the grain. At over two metres in length, the table would make a real statement as a large console.
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