Beautifully sculpted with fine decorative carving and bone inlays and tusks, this piece is an amazing example of Chinese craftsmanship. Zitan is the heaviest, most closely grained and hardest of all the hardwoods. Its colour ranges from a dark purple brown to a reddish brown, with some examples being as black as lacquer. It may once have grown in the southern provinces of Guandong and Jiangxi but became extinct in these areas due to excessive felling. Instead it was imported in large quantities during the Ming and early Qing dynasties from India and the South Pacific Islands. Initially used for small luxury items like game boards and musical instruments, Zitan was later used for furnishing the emperor’s palaces, but supplies diminished to such an extent that the emperor ordered for it to be preserved. Despite this supplies were nearly exhausted by the end of the Qing dynasty.

W: 6¼ x D: 5 x H: 7½ in.

$800 Pair Inquire to Dino@Modern50.com