Altar Table with Cloud Head Spandrels
Shandong, circa 1900
Long, narrow tables like this one were usually placed against the end wall of the main reception room in a Chinese home, used to display offerings to ancestors. Commonly referred to as altar tables, this one is in a classic design, with deep set 'cloud head' spandrels towards the top of each leg. The word in Chinese for cloud ('yun') is synonomous with the word for luck or fortune and so clouds were a common motif in Chinese paintings but also in furniture. The table is made from elm wood and was sourced from Shandong province south of Beijing. Restored with a dark finish and varnish to bring out the wonderful grain and character of the wood, it would be a real statement piece as a large console in a hallway or reception room or could be placed behind a sofa as a large lamp table.
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