High Backed Official's Armchair
Shanxi, circa 1825
This beautiful armchair is in the 'Southern Official' style, with a toprail and arms set flush with their supporting posts rather than extending over them. The design is slightly unusual, though, in that the backrest and side posts are elongated, so the overall height of the chair is relatively high - perhaps to give a sense of importance and grandeur to the sitter. The chair was produced in Shanxi province nearly two hundred years ago and made from elm with a woven rattan seat over a wooden panel. The finish is a rich, warm honey colour that perfectly shows of the wide, attractive grain of the wood. There are various marks and imperfections in the finish, but overall the chair shows fairly limited signs of wear.
The backrest features a relief carving of what appears to be a deer - a symbol in China for longevity as deers were believed to live to a great age. There is a further relief carving at the base in the form of a 'ruyi' - a ceremonial sceptre used to symbolise power and good fortune. The legs are supported to the back and at the sides with double stretchers and there is a simply carved apron at each side, as well as one below the footrest.
Almost certainly produced as one of a pair originally, this is a particularly elegant, beautifully proportioned chair that would make a lovely focal point, perhaps in a bedroom or in the corner of an entrance hall.
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