Reverse Glass Table Screen with Floral Still Life

c. 1850
$3,280 USD
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W: 19.0" D: 8.5" H: 29.5"
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Prevalent in fine Chinese interiors as early as the Tang dynasty (618-906), standing screens with decorative panels served numerous functions as portable architecture. Used to section off a room or as a backdrop to a throne or floral arrangement, large screens allowed a space to be shaped to one's every need.

Also known as spirit screens, smaller table screens such as this were often used to block drafts and other intrusions in a scholar's workspace. Like every aspect of a scholar's studio, such screens were ornamented with images that inspired contemplation and added beauty to its surroundings.

This 19th-century table screen features a reverse glass mirror painted with an elegant still life. The quiet vignette shows an array of precious objects, including an offering bowl with grapes, a brush pot with pen and paper, and a vase of cut plum blossoms and chrysanthemums. The painting is set in a simple wooden frame and secured by a hardwood base decorated with carvings of fu lions, dragons, vases, and censers.

From the collection of Frances and Gary Comer.

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