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A set of extremely rare armchairs with elaborate qiangjin lacquer. The triple-panel back and seat on each is richly incised with climbing tree peonies and butterflies; the frame is decorated with repeating patterns of chrysanthemums and foliate sprays. The legs are similarly decorated and have stylized, archaistic dragon spandrels joined by stepped-stretchers with shaped aprons beneath.The elaborate decoration is continued on the outer panels of each chair and remains in remarkable original condition with little sign of wear. Qianlong Period .
The only other known set of chairs of a similar pattern is cataloged in the collection of Lord Fairhaven at Anglesey Abbey. These chairs are more fluid in design, the dragon spandrels are slightly more elongated, and there are no aprons beneath the stretchers, which suggest later date than the more archaic designs of the present group. Also, the condition of the lacquer at Anglesey show greater signs of wear and restoration. These four armchairs are unique on the market and have not been seen publically for twenty-five years, having been in two private collections throughout the twentieth century.
This pattern of chair has traditionally been dated to the Wanli period in the Ming Dynasty. However, recent research now dates this most-unusual form to the Qing Dynasty, during the first half of the 18th century. The production of lacquer furniture of such a large size is extremely time-consuming. These four chairs display the most skillful craftsmanship and very few examples of such lacquer furniture survive today, especially in this original state. There are no other known examples in any collection either in China or America.
M. Beurdeley, Chinese Furniture. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1979.
M. Dupont, Les meubles de la Chinee. Paris: Librairie des arts de´coratifs, 1950
CONDITION REPORT ON REQUEST.
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