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Physical description

Double sided desk with detachable top. Chinese, first half of 19th century. Huali wood. The detachable top is of mitered, mortised and tenoned frame construction (tenons not exposed), with three section flush floating panel. Three tranverse braces are dovetailed into the underside of the floating panel and mortised and tenoned into the long members of the frame. The top rests on and is secured to the end sections by two hidden inset tenons at each end.

The outer edge of the top is decorated with stylised flowers carved in low relief. Each end section is composed of a top of mitered, mortised and tenoned frame construction with floating panel. The legs are mitered, mortised and tenoned into these top frames. The drawers at front and back, and the side floating panels are framed by the top frame, the legs and four mitered, mortised and tenoned horizontal members. A baseboard tongue-and-grooved into these horizontal members supports the drawers.

The drawer sides are double-doved to the drawer fronts, and the bases tongue-and-grooved to the fronts, sides and rears. The rears are tongue-and-grooved to the sides. The drawers, which are stopped on wooden pegs, have plain brass tag handles on circular plain escutcheons. A curvilinear mitered and half-lapped apron is tongue-and-grooved to the legs on all four sides, with occasional pinning and gluing on some aprons. There are mitered, mortised and tenoned stretchers at the bottom of the legs. The drawer fronts are carved in relief with sprays of flowers, the legs and horizontal members with stylised flowers and scrolling.


Height: 85 cm, Length: 156.5 cm, Width: 65.5 cm

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Illustrated in Craig Clunas, Chinese Furniture, V&A Far Eastern Series, 1988, Plate No. 66.


East Asia Collection

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