A pair of filled in and incised red lacquer tables

Kangxi period, 17th century, China
清康熙 17世紀 中國

Height: 73.5 cm, 29 inches - Length: 66 cm, 26 inches
高73.5釐米 - 長66釐米

The technique known as t’ien-ch’i, is lacquer that has been built up in layers over wood covered in hemp cloth, each layer is left to dry and polished down and when thick enough the design is cut into the surface and these areas filled in with lacquers of different colours, the outlines often gilded. The technique is known in French as ‘laque cuir’ and the effect is like old leather – sober yet warm with its limited range of colours in ochre, red, green, black and brown.

Each table has a rectangular top supported on a high waist with elongated openings above a scalloped apron on four winged cabriole legs with scroll feet obscured by upturned leaves. The decoration on the top of each table is the only difference between them; both have a large central cartouche with a design of birds, rocks, flowers and trees in typical 17th century style; however the area outside each cartouche is decorated differently the one with lotus flowers and scrolling leaves, the other with a geometric repeated key pattern. Both tables are adorned else where with an all over design of repeating lotus flower and scrolling leaves, a Greek key edge to the top and a lotus petal border above the apron.

Similar Examples

The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Furniture of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1) HK 2002 – plates 91 and 104.

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