Ming Style Elm Table
Shanxi, circa 1860
Although it dates from around the mid nineteenth century, this lovely table is in a plain style associated with furniture from the earlier Ming dynasty. The legs are flush with each corner (a type of table referred to as 'zhuo' in Chinese) and strengthened with S-shaped diagonal braces that are fitted from the inside upper part of each leg into the underside of the table. These supports are typical of Ming furniture and are know as 'giant's arm' braces ('bawangcheng' in Chinese). The table is otherwise simply styled, with feet ending in large, horsehoof style feet.
The rich, dark lacquer finish is still in good condition, though worn around the feet and on the table's top surface. Like much of the furniture produced in Shanxi province that has survived the years, the table is made from elm wood, and has a lovely patina and attractive grain brought out by the dark finish.
Most likely used originally as a 'painting table' for calligraphy and as a more general work surface, the table would work wonderfully today as a very attractive desk, console or possibly as a narrow dining table.
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