Horseshoe Armchair with Deer Carving
Shanxi, circa 1880
This single armchair would once have been one of a pair, but has been separated over the years. The long rail that curves around into the chair's arms in a horseshoe shape give the style its name, and this type of chair was originally reserved for the most important members of society or house guests. Made from elm wood, the chair's original dark finish is still intact in places but now mostly shows the more natural colour of the wood beneath, particularly on the footrest, which has worn down with years of use. The backrest is carved in relief to show a deer - a symbol in China for longevity as they were thought to live to a great age.
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