Shanxi Elm Altar Table
Shanxi, circa 1860
This is a beautiful example of the classic Chinese altar table, used in temples and well-to-do homes throughout Chinese society. Tables like this one would be placed centrally against the rear wall of the main reception room of the home, used as a surface for offerings to ancestors, or to show displays of flowers or favourite prized ornaments such as jade or bronzes. As seen here, they were usually large and imposing in size and with an extended top surface ending in raised 'flanges'. This particular table shows the classic 'cloud head' carved design at the top of the legs both to the front and back, as well as double 'ruyi' symbols between each set of leg posts. Made from elm wood and with the original black lacquer finish now slightly lightened and worn, it would make a very striking console in a reception area.
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