A rare portable stationary folding desk Mid Qing Dynasty
Lot 392W
A rare portable stationary folding desk Mid Qing Dynasty
£20,000 - 30,000
US$ 34,000 - 50,000
Auction Details
A rare portable stationary folding desk Mid Qing Dynasty A rare portable stationary folding desk Mid Qing Dynasty A rare portable stationary folding desk Mid Qing Dynasty A rare portable stationary folding desk Mid Qing Dynasty
Lot Details
A rare portable stationary folding desk
Mid Qing Dynasty
Formed of two hinged panels closing to form a box and cover or opening to form the surface of a desk, the four folding legs joined by hinges to the corners inside the box and cover and terminating in square scrolls, the outside corners reinforced with brass plates and a brass lock mounted in the centre of the outside edge, the interior lacquered brownish-red. Opened as a desk, 119.5cm x 55cm x 45.8cm high (47in x 21½in x 18in high)

Footnotes

  • 清中期 旅行文具箱

    The present portable stationary folding desk is extremely rare in its form and design. Indeed, the only other known close example is in the Qing Court Collection and is described as possibly unique in the history of Chinese furniture. The Qing Court Collection folding desk is made of zitan and attributed to the Qianlong period; see Chumei Ho and Bennet Bronson, Splendors of China's Forbidden City: The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong, London, 2004, p.98, pl.108; and Ming Qing Gu Gongting Jia Zhu Da Guan, vol.II, Beijing, 2006, p.653. pls.765 (1-2).

    The folding desk would have originally contained, in addition to the folding legs, also a stationary box, candlestick and writing instruments and was probably used by the Emperor during his travels.

    The neat mechanism is based on the two halves, formed by the open box and its cover, aligned side by side, thus forming the desktop. Each leg, compactly turning on a hinge, is carefully folded into the interiors of the box and cover, thus achieving a compact form whilst also protecting the legs. When upright the legs are secured into place by turning pegs revolving into slots in the legs.
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