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Asian Art

Side Table

17th–18th century

Wood: top, hua-mu; legs; Huamu and huanghuali woods

32 1/2 × 54 1/4 × 17 3/8 in. (82.6 × 137.8 × 44.13 cm)
Gift in memory of Arthur F. and Mary C. Wright
Often called “altar tables”, rectangular tables such as this served as side tables in a room. When positioned in the center of the back wall of a main hall, they dominated the room. Objects could be placed on them and scrolls hung above them. They thus served both for display and support. Objects, whether altar furniture or a scholar’s rock, remained on the surface to be viewed and contemplated. The everted flanges give further definition and presence to the table while at the same time concealing the grain ends of the top board. In the side panels are carved upright lingzhi, the fungus of immortality, set within an open arched frame. The fungus, silhouetted dramatically against the open space, helps to emphasize the length of the table.
Not on view
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)

Prof. Arthur F. Wright (1913–1976) and Prof. Mary C. Wright (1917–1970), Collection, Guilford, Conn.; by inheritance, Jonathan A. Wright (born 1952) Florence, Mass.; gift in 1982 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 302, ill.

David Ake Sensabaugh, The Scholar as Collector: Chinese Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2004), 36, 44, no. 51.

Harvey Green, Wood: Craft, Culture, History (New York: Viking Press, 2006).

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.