Pair of Architectural Carvings

product code: ASC-DO-19002
D12 x H70 x W41 x cm

Anhui, circa 1850

This extraordinary pair of carvings were produced to act as corbels (supporting brackets between pillars and beams) in a traditional Chinese home. They are from Anhui province, to the west of Shanghai - an area that is famed for the highly detailed architectural panels and carvings that were used to adorn the homes of rich Chinese merchants. With overt displays of wealth frowned upon for those outside of court, the merchants would concentrate on the inside of their homes, creating extremely ornate timber-framed structures with beams, pillars, panels and windows all highly decorated with open or relief carvings in stone and wood.

Carvings like these would have been produced by highly skilled artisans who would learn their trade from a very early age. Designs would incorporate symbolic animals and flowers or figures from legend that were pertinant to the home owner, and each carving would take weeks or months to produce, often at huge expense.

This particular pair was shipped out of China over 20 years ago, and it would certainly not be possible to export something like this nowadays. The detail on them is exquisite - right down to the expression on the face of each figure, the patterns on their robes and the individual look of each tree leaf above. Each corbel is carved on both sides, designed to be admired from either side of the pillar they were positioned on. One side shows a figure seated on a horse or mule - possibly depicting the merchant himself - engaging with two other characters. On the back is a servant, one carrying the merchant's books and wares and the other providing shade with a parasol. The carvings are extremely rare and one of the finest examples of this type of carving that we have seen.  Very much a collector's item but also beautiful decorative objects, the corbels have been mounted on matching wooden bases so that they can be displayed as ornaments.

Sold as a pair, the price shown is for the two carvings.

Find out more about the history behind these and other Hui carvings on our blog on Hui architecture.

This item is currently out of stock. Please click here to check on availability.
This item is currently out of stock. Please click here to check on availability.

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Lacquered furniture should need little cleaning other than the regular use of a dry, soft cloth or duster. To remove any stains, use a dry or slightly damp cloth. Avoid the use of too much water as this will affect the surface. Frequent waxing should not be needed but can be carried out every couple of months using a good quality natural beeswax. Do not use the cheaper silicone furniture sprays as these may affect the finish. Never use any abrasive cleaning products or chemicals.

Products in a natural finish can be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth. Use a natural beeswax every few months to protect and nourish the wood.

Do not place hot or wet items directly onto the product surface as this can mark the finish. Clean any spills as soon as possible.

Avoid placing your furniture near a radiator or other heat source as this can lead to the wood drying out and shrinking, causing cracks or splitting. Ideally, leave at least a metre between your furniture and any heat source. Avoid also placing your furniture in strong, direct sunlight as the colour may fade over time.


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