Imperial Chinese Zitan Side Table
The three-sectioned rectangular-form top set within a wide frame and carved along the outer edge with dragons amid swirling clouds, above a narrow plain waist and a band of bats flying amid stylized clouds, bordered below by lotus petal lappets, the straight sided apron with a central ruyi-shaped scroll densely carved with two opposing dragons chasing a flaming pearl and further dragons amid clouds extending down the exterior sides of the four square sectioned legs, all terminating in hoof feet with rockwork and resting on two later floor stretchers. Height 35 3/4 inches, width 63 1/2 inches, depth 16 3/4 inches.
Often considered the most precious of all woods, zitan was a commodity so expensive and highly prized that existing stores of it were safeguarded in the Imperial warehouse and restricted for use by the Imperial Palace Workshop. The table's opulent carving and superior skill in execution further suggests an Imperial provenance. The deep dense carving flows with diving and darting bats and dragons writhing amid the swirling clouds chasing the elusive flaming pearl.
C Estate of Sonja Caron Stein
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