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Asian Art

High Yoke-Back Armchair

ca. 17th century

Huanghuali wood

46 1/2 × 23 1/2 × 18 in. (118.1 × 59.7 × 45.7 cm)
Gift in memory of Arthur F. and Mary C. Wright
1997.47.1
The protruding crestrails of this armchair were thought to resemble the two silk protuberances on either side of an official’s hat, thus the name “Official’s Hat Chair.” In the late Ming period, the apparent plainness and lack of adornment of this type of chair was an aesthetic statement in itself. Many members of the late-Ming elite strove for such simplicity. This armchair relies on the subtly curving splats, stiles, and armrests and on the grain of the wood to communicate an air of restrained elegance.
Geography: 
China
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
Chinese
Period: 
Ming dynasty (1368–1644) or Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Classification: 
Furniture
Provenance: 

Prof. Arthur F. Wright (1913–1976) and Prof. Mary C. Wright (1917–1970), Collection, Guilford, Conn.; by inheritance, Dr. Charles Duncan Wright, Portland, ME; gift in 1997 to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

David Ake Sensabaugh, The Scholar as Collector: Chinese Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2004), 36, 44, no. 50.

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.