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Red Sandalwood Chair with Carved Lotus Flowers

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Period: Ming dynasty (1368-1644)
Medium: red sandalwood
Dimensions: overall height: 109 cm, width: 98 cm, depth: 78 cm

Made wholly of red sandalwood, the chair has a rounded square and plain seat and contracts slightly below the seat. Below the bulging legs and stubby feet is a foot-rest. The back and arm rests are fitted on with tenon and mortise. The entire chair is decorated with carved designs of lotus flowers and leaves. The headrest is made of a wide and thick piece of sandalwood finely and smoothly sculptured in the shape of a lotus leaf. The chair is a piece of furniture for solitary display. In the palace, it was used together with a screen and ceremonial sunshades and positioned at the centre in a room with a door opening to the outside and not to be moved frequently. The wood for making this chair is solid, heavy and fine textured. The sturdy shape of the chair makes it comfortable to sit on and durable for use. The lotus flowers, leaves, stems and roots that cover the chair are realistically carved in the same style as the flowers on the carved lacquerware of the Yuan and Ming dynasties. This piece of Ming furniture is the only one of its kind still in existence.

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