Sometimes called Hunting Chairs, or Jiaoy Armchairs, these horseshoe-back folding chairs were used by the imperial family, persons of rank and scholars. Emperors used them as portable thrones while on diplomatic campaigns and leisurely outings. The superb design, dating back to at least the 12th century, is a masterclass in form and function. Elegant, lightweight, portable and extremely stylish.
These ones are late 19th century examples and are beautifully constructed in Elm with decorative metalwork strengthening the joints and hinges. The top rail is perfectly dovetailed, without glue or nails, from three sections of wood and displays incredible craftsmanship. The back splats, normally carved, in this case have a wonderful burr wood inset (reminiscent of Huanghuali wood, but likely burr Elm). The seats are worked from a layer of finely woven and lacquered rattan over a more robust and rougher weave to the underside. (The seating material is woven through holes in the wood at the front and back which are then disguised with a strip of the same timber, leaving the construction invisible and incredibly strong).
A charming, large and impressive matching pair. 106cm tall x 67cm wide x approx 50cm deep (41.7 x 26 x 19 inches).
Condition is excellent, solid and useable. Showing some signs of age, some small scuffs/scratches etc. Signs of previous restoration, possibly one or two replacement pieces of metalwork. Black paint around the rivets on one piece, to imitate the tarnish seen around the original rivets, (another piece has 5 rivets where the others in the same position have six so this may also be a replacement). Signs of black paint around some of the metalwork, likely someone trying to match the ageing technique used around the replacement brass. Overall these present superbly, highly decorative.
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Late Qing Dynasty Hardwood Folding Chairs
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