Classical Chinese Furniture Dominates Christie’s New York Chinese Works of Art

Christie’s New York is going to hold a sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art in the coming September, featuring a majority of Classical Chinese Furniture. The top twelve lots with high estimates - excluding a leading lot of Ya Yi Fangding (rectangular ritual food vessel) from late Shang Dynasty and a Sancai glazed pottery figure from Tang dynasty - are either Zitan or Huanghuali furniture.

For classical Chinese furniture, the highest-estimated lots are furniture pieces made of Zitan. Ranked on top is a Zitan compound cabinets, estimated at US$550,000-750,000. They are massive in size with a height of nearly 240 cm and a depth of 54.5cm, and a total of about 230 cm when put together. The compound cabinets consist of a top section (also known as hatchest) and a lower section, which can be placed together or separately. Compound cabinets were mostly made of Huanghuali in late Ming dynasty and Zitan in Qing dynasty.

Beautifully crafted using the precious hardwood Zitan, enormous compound cabinets were mostly placed only in the house of noble families. The hatchest has square panel doors that richly carved with a motif of a dragon chasing a flaming pearl amidst clouds, creating an imposing and majestic interior space. The compound cabinets were made in the 19th century, the Jiaqing and Guangxu period in the Qing dynasty.

Following the compound cabinets, a Zitan Luohan bed and Kang table that carved with an intricate pattern of intertwining lotus blossoms and leaves on the back and sides, is estimated at US$550,000-750,000. It is 211cm wide and 127.7cm deep.

Luohan bed, usually put in a small hall, a study or the centre of the main room, can be used for taking naps or serving guests. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Luohan bed usually came along with a Kang table placing at the centre. Please take note that Christie’s does not provide any information on the year of production.

For furniture made of Huanghuali, a Huanghuali three-drawer coffer carries the highest estimate of US$250,000-350,000. The single-panel top is set in a rectangular frame fitted with everted ends above three drawers and an underlying drawer hidden by a side panel. Coffers in this design were commonly used as a popular dowry in ancient China as women could keep their valuables in the drawers. This Huanghuali coffer was part of the collection of Hong Kong furniture store, Chan Shing Yee.


Selection of Zitan and Huanghuali Furniture

A Magnificent Pair of Zitan Compound Cabinets and Hatchests, Sijiangui. 19th Century

Lot no.: 962
Size: 239.8 x 114.3 x 54.4cm; 239.8 x 114.3 x 54.4cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):
The Property of a Gentleman
Estimate: US$550,000 - 750,000

A Spectacular Carved Zitan Luohan Bed and Kang Table

Lot no.: 971
Size: 103 x 211 x 127.7cm; 28 x 103 x 47.7cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Lai Loy, Hong Kong, 1991.
  • Property From A Private American Collection

Estimate: US$550,000 - 700,000

An Impressive Zitan Painting Desk. 18th-19th Century.

Lot no.: 970
Size: 79.4 x 176.6 x 80cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • General Xiang Hang Ping (1890-1978) Collection.
  • Lai Loy, Hong Kong, 1985.
  • Property From A Private American Collection

Estimate: US$500,000 - 700,000

A Very Rare Pair of Zitan Continuous Horseshoe-Back Armchairs, Quanyi. 18th Century.

Lot no.: 947
Size: 89.6 x 63.8 x 57.2cm; 89.6 x 63.8 x 57.2cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Chan Shing Yee, Hong Kong, November 1994
  • Property From The Nancy and Ed Rosenthal Collection

Estimate: US$300,000 - 500,000

A Pair of Massive Zitan Trestle-Leg Tables

Lot no.: 972
Size: 88.3 x 354 x 50.2cm; 88.3 x 354 x 50.2cm​
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):
Property From A Private American Collection
Estimate: US$300,000 - 500,000

A Large Huanghuali Three-Drawer Coffer

Lot no.: 949
Size: 84.3 x 200.8 x 56.5cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Chan Shing Kee, Hong Kong, February 2001.
  • Property From The Nancy And Ed Rosenthal Collection

Estimate: US$250,000 - 350,000

A Pair of Rectangular Huanghuali Side Tables, Banzhuo. 17th Century.

Lot no.: 954
Size: 86.7 x 98.4 x 49.5cm; 86.7 x 98.4 x 49.5cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Zen Gallery, Brussels, March 1996.
  • Property From The Nancy And Ed Rosenthal Collection

Estimate: US$250,000 - 350,000

A Very Rare Zitan ‘Southern Official’s Hat’ Armchair, Nanguanmoyi. Late 17th -18th Century.

Lot no.: 946
Size: 92.7 x 59 x 53.5cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Ming Furniture Ltd., New York, November 1989.
  • Property From The Nancy And Ed Rosenthal Collection

Estimate: US$200,000 - 300,000


A Rare Pair of Huanghuali Square Cabriole-Leg Stools. 17th-18th Century.

Lot no.: 948
Size: 52.7 x 47.6 x 47.6cm; 52.7 x 47.6 x 47.6cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Chan Shing Kee, Hong Kong, November 1994.
  • Property From The Nancy And Ed Rosenthal Collection

Estimate: US$200,000 - 300,000

A Huanghuali Round-Corner Tapered Cabinet, Yuanjiaogui. 17th Century.

Lot no.: 977
Size: 190.2 x 92.1 x 49.8cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Schoeni Fine Oriental Art, Hong Kong, 1990s.
  • Property From A Private New York Collection

Estimate: US$200,000 - 300,000


Auction details

Auction house: Christie’s New York
Sale: Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Sale no.: 13751
No. of lots: 327
2017/9/8 - 9 |10am - 5pm
2017/9/10|1pm - 5pm
2017/9/11 - 12 |10am - 5pm
2017/9/13|10am - 2pm
2017/9/14|2pm (Lot 901-1051)
2017/9/15|10am (Lot 1101-1189)
2017/9/15|2pm (Lot 1190-1281)