A rectangular mother-of-pearl inlaid black lacquer wine table, jiuzuo. Ming Dynasty, Wanli Period

consisting of a rectangular top with a floating panel set in a beaded frame with double-moulded edges, resting on a beaded cusped apron with traces of gilding extending to rectangular sectioned legs, each gently flaring to leaves, pad and extending supports at the feet, the shape imitating an imperial sword (Shang Fang Bao Jian), further secured by two sets of rectangular stretchers between the legs with moulding on all corners, covered overall in a black lacquer with a fine dusting of mother-of-pearl flecks imbedded throughout, the underside lacquered in red. 77 by 116.3 by 76 cm. 30 3/8 by 45 3/4 by 30 in. Estimaate 3,500,000—5,000,000 HKD

NOTE: A very close Wanli mark and period example in the Palace Museum in Bejing has carved dragons on the apron filled-in with crushed mother-of-pearl and reserved on a mother-of-pearl ground, and is illustrated in Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (I)The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong 2002, p. 128, no. 108 (fig. 1). Another similar lacquer wine table, once in the Rothchild Collection, the Roger Vivier Collection, and the Rockefeller Collection, is illustrated in Christopher Bruckner's Treasures from Temples and Palaces, vol. 2, 2005, cat. no. 10. Also compare a slightly taller zitan table with similarly shaped apron in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The 200 Objects You Should Know. Red Sandalwood Furniture, Beijing, 2008, pl. 73; and another huanghuali example in the Honolulu Academy of Arts, included in the exhibition Chinese Hardwood Furniture in Hawaiian Collections, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, 1982, cat. no. 13.

Sotheby's. Ming Imperial Furniture- The Biegucang Collection. 08 Apr 09. Hong Kong www.sothebys.com photo courtesy Sotheby's