Pair of Carved Horseshoe Armchairs
Shandong, circa 1880
These beautiful 'horseshoe' back armchairs are around 200 years old and come from the central Chinese province of Shanxi. They are made from elm, the lovely wide grain of the wood now visible through the original black lacquer, which has largely worn away. The design, with its rounded, continuous arms and curved backrest, is one that developed in China hundreds of years ago and changed little over time. These chairs were reserved for ceremony or the most important household guests, their imposing proportions denoting a sense of status. As was common, this pair have some wonderful open carvings in the backrest. The central panel on each chair shows a Chinese unicorn - a mythical beast that symbolises luck and prosperity. Above these is an inverted 'ruyi' - the head of a ceremonial sceptre denoting power and status. Sold as a pair, the price shown is for the two chairs.
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