Elm Bench with Cloud Spandrels
Shanxi, circa 1850
This charming little bench is of a type that was often seen in China outside shops or restaurants, used by customers or staff to take a seat, enjoy the fresh air and survey the passing scene. The style is sometimes referred to as a 'Spring bench', as the benches would be placed outside when the finer weather arrived. Like most from Shanxi province, this one is in elm wood, with a waisted seat over moulded legs. Particularly nice are the carved 'cloud head' spandrels - a symbol for luck or good fortune and often seen on larger altar tables but less common on this type of simple, rustic item. Great for extra seating or as an unusual, narrow side table next to a sofa.
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