Lot 720 Ravenel Spring Auction 2020
A PAIR OF CARVED ZITAN 'DRAGON' CABINETS KANGGUI
L : 20.2 cm； W : 43.6 cm；H : 74.6 cm (each)
Dragons are mythical beings who were believed to manipulate clouds, rain and wind. It controls the well-being of villages and a country and were believed as symbols of prosperity. Since the Qin and Han Dynasty, dragons have become a representation of the emperor. From the Song Dynasty, dragon motifs symbolizes the supremacy and power of the king. Officials were forbidden to use dragon motifs. In the Ming Dynasty, dragons with four claws could be seen on cloaks of senior officials, while those with five claws were stricted for imperial use. These cabinets are decorated with five-clawed dragons, suggesting its imperial heritage. Cloud and dragon motifs correspond with the style of Qianlong period, Qing Dynasty, hence one could determine its origin and period.
Qing furniture might appear over-flourished and clumsy in style, yet such style fits perfectly in cabinets and drawers. The strong and dense structure of zitan allows carpenters to carve extravagant flourishings, without affecting the structure of a furniture. Zitan cabinets became expensive artwork as they required excellent craftsmanship and intensive labour. Hence production of such furniture is very few and comes with a high price. Due to the difficulties in transportation, these antique furniture with such exquisite carvings are even scarce in quantity.
Curios: Chinese Works of Art
Ravenel Spring Auction 2020
Saturday, July 18, 2020, 12:00am