Shanxi Carved Elm Temple Table
Shanxi, circa 1850
This wonderfully ornate, carved table is one of the best examples of the style that we have seen in recent years. It would once have been used as an altar table, most likely in a temple in Shanxi province where it was sourced from, with incense and offerings placed on its surface. It is still in its original proportions, with a wide, deep top surface. The front incorporates a full width drawer over two smaller drawers, the front of each one in deep carved relief showing traditional floral patterns. The simple drop handles at the centre of each drawer are old, with the handle of the larger drawer able to be locked using a ring fitted into the frame below.
The spandrels at each side are beautifully carved in a traditional dragon design and taper down from the table's extended top surface towards the lower legs. The left hand spandrel includes a repaired section towards the bottom, fitted to match the original. Once finished in a black lacquer, with the drawer fronts picked out in contrasting bright reds, the original lacquer on the table has largely worn away to reveal the more natural colour of the elm wood underneath. The table top in particular is worn to show the grain of the elm wood and a wonderful, aged patina. This is a quite rare piece in a highly original condition that would be a real statement in any setting.
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