In recent years, Chinese classical furniture is becoming more and more popular at auctions, with higher and higher hammer price. In fact, Marie Theresa L. Virata (1923 - 2015), a famous collector from The Philippines, had started to collect furniture of the Ming and Qing dynasties in the 1980s. Christie’s New York is going to hold an auction for her family collection, which includes a number of furniture with superb quality, made of rare woods like Zitan and Huanghuali.
The lot with the highest estimate is a Zitan Luohanchuang, made in the 18th century. Luohanchuang, or couch bed, is found in both the private chambers of women and the studio of literati gentlemen. It is also considered part of the everyday furnishings, and an essential furnishing for the master’s studio. As described by Wen Zhenheng in his Treatise on Superfuous Things, “when men of old made tables and couches, although the length and width were not standardized, they were invariably antique (gu)”. The elegant simplicity of this unadorned Luohanchuang is derived from its pure form and balanced proportions, represents a true interpretation of the concept of gu.
The lot with the 2nd highest estimate is a Huanghuali recessed-leg painting table, crafted in the 17th century. Large single panel huanghuali painting tables, such as this lot, are extremely rare. It is even rarer to find the unusual feature of the decorated apron framed by pairs of stretchers on the narrow side. A true painting table, the surface must be broad enough to accommodate a large painting and the accoutrements associated with painting or calligraphy, such as ink, ink stones, brushes, and washers. Tables of this large size would be ideal for appreciating paintings. The lot with the 3rd highest estimate is a pair of zitan Sichutouguanmaoyi, or 'official's hat' armchairs, made during the Ming dynasty to the 18th century. This form of armchair, with “four exposed ends” to the yoke and arms cut-of square rather than round, is well known in Huanghuali but virtually unknown in Zitan.
Auction House: Christie's New York
Sale: The Marie Theresa L. Virata Collection of Asian Art: A Family Legacy
Sale No.: 14261
No. of Lot: 86
Sale Time: 2017/3/16 10am
A MAGNIFICENT AND IMPORTANT ZITAN LUOHAN BED, LUOHANCHUANG, 18TH CENTURY
Lot No.: 643
Size: 73.7 x 218.7 x 128.3cm
Estimate: US$2,000,000 - 3,000,000
A VERY RARE AND IMPRESSIVE HUANGHUALI RECESSED-LEG PAINTING TABLE, JIATOUSUN HUA'AN, 17TH CENTURY
Lot No.: 628
Size: 83.2 x 219 x 62.9cm
Estimate: US$1,000,000 - 1,500,000
A VERY RARE PAIR OF ZITAN 'OFFICIAL'S HAT' ARMCHAIRS, SICHUTOUGUANMAOYI, 17TH-18TH CENTURY
Lot No.: 640
Size: 116.2 x 62.2 x 54.6cm
Estimate: US$800,000 - 1,200,000