Antique Chinese Simianping Table
Suzhou circa 1700
This style of Chinese table is known as 'simianping' (literally 'four sides flush') and differed from other types of table where the legs would be recessed with the table top extending over them. The style developed very early in China from simple, box-type constructions and similar tables were produced as early as the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 AD). By the late Ming and early Qing dynasties they had become popular and more refined. The advantage of such flush-sided tables was that they could be easily placed side by side to create larger surfaces for banqueting. The table here dates from the early Qing Dynasty and is typical of the period, with the four legs and aprons forming the base for the table top. The horse hoof feet and beautifully carved double coin symbols in the apron (denoting prosperity) are also distinctive of the period. Once lacquered, the old finish has worn to the paler, smooth wood underneath, which shows the cracks and features that are consistent with the tables age and add to the character of the piece.