Lot #032
Dining Table with Chairs
Narra, Lanite and Carabao Bone
chair with arms (2pcs): H:35 1/4” x L:20 1/4” x W:23”(90 cm x 51 cm x 58 cm) chair without arms (6pcs): H:33 1/2” x L:18” x W:18” (85 cm x 46 cm x 46 cm) dining table (4 sections): H:30” x L:96” x W:46”(76 cm x 244 cm x 117 cm)
Starting Bid : Php 400,000
HP + BP : Php 467,200
Provenance 1) Baliuag,Bulacan or Angeles,Pampanga
2) Private Collection, United States
The increased demand for Philippine commodities after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 resulted in the emergence of a prosperous plantation society who indulged in a spate of housebuilding and lavish hospitality. The custom of keeping open house during town fiestas and other important occasions made long dining tables necessary for the sit-down dinners that were de rigeur every time a celebration took place. Every guest sat down to dine, the most important ones at the primer puesto or first sitting, those of lesser importance at the last or nth sitting.
Tables that could be extended by adding sections were popular, because the spare leaves could be stacked together and required less space when stored in the bodega or storeroom. In many cases numerous, identical small tables, each standing independently on four legs, were joined together to form one very long table. These tables often had semi-circular or chamfered end sections, called cabeceras. When not needed in the comedor or dining room, the various sections were used as sidetables in other parts of the house, while the end sections could serve as consolas in the sala or be joined together to form a round or hexagonal table. Because of its versatility, tables like this are now called ‘magic tables’.
This particular narra dining table is composed of four individual tables, two rectangular ones and a pair of semi-circular ones for either end. Each table stands on four turned, tapering legs, the latter composed of a turned, tapering reeded shaft resting on a small bun foot topped by a turned reel surmounted by a ring. The leg shaft, surmounted by a ring topped by a turned vase and a spool between two rings, continues on to become the square apron support. All its exposed sides are inlaid with a stellar flower composed of eight diamond-shaped lozenges of carabao bone radiating from a central disc incised with a dot in the middle. Inlaid vertically above the flower and separated by a diamond lozenge is a pair of discs with a pair of diamond-lozenges joined at one side inlaid above and below it.
The aprons of each section consist of a single, solid plank with straight bottom incised with a line molding and a border consisting of an inlaid series of diamond-shaped lozenges. Above the border is a horizontal rectangular cartouche with semicircular ends line-inlaid in lanite. Within is an inlaid pattern of lanite vines with diamond-shaped leaves in bone meandering symmetrically on either side of a stellar flower.
The top of each section is made up of a single narra plank edged with line molding on either side of a series of diamond-shaped bone lozenges. Meandering lanite vines with diamond-shaped bone leaves are inlaid in a border all around the table top, forming a continuous freize, when the four tables are joined together.
This set of simple yet elegant arm chairs are part of a dining set corresponding to the above-described so-called ‘magic table’. It stands on
a pair of turned, tapering legs in front and a pair of square tapering saber legs at the rear. The former, a smaller version of the dining table leg, is composed of a turned, tapering reeded shaft resting on a small bun foot topped by a turned reel surmounted by a ring. The leg shaft, surmounted by a ring topped by a turned vase and a spool, continues on to become the square seat frame support surmounted by the turned arm support consisting of a pair of rings topped by a vase-shaped turning and a spool. Finely turned spindles form an H-stretcher to connect the legs. At the lower part of the leg supporting the seat is inlaid a stellar flower consisting of six diamond-shaped lozenges radiating from a central disk incised with a dot.
Pairs of narrow horizontal flanges zigsaw-outlined with ogee curves and a cusp placed on either side of the legs below the seat frame act as braces to further strengthen the chair. The seat frames in front and at the sides are bordered with line-inlay of carabao bone on either side of a symmetrical viney design of lanite scrolls with stylized leaves of diamond-shaped lozenges on either side of large stellar flower with five petals radiating from a bone disk incised with a dot. The seat is caned.
The slightly concave back stiles are surmounted by a concave top rail that forms a tiny scroll at the back. It is bordered at the bottom with an inlaid series of diamond lozenges and decorated with a viney design of lanite and carabao bone identical to that found on the seat frame.
The lower rail, shaped like a yoke formed by a pair of scrolled volutes, has a stellar flower of eight diamond-shaped petals radiating from a large bone disk inlaid at the center of each volute in the middle of the rail. The back splat is composed of five narrow slates shaped like stylized Prince of Wales feathers.
Attached to the stiles between the upper and lower rails are square, narrow arms that curve downward to rest upon the arm support above the front legs and continue to curve downward to form a scroll. The surface of the arm is inlaid at the upper end with a stellar flower with lanite line inlay beneath embellished with pairs of bone diamond-shaped lozenges forming a filet of stylized leaves.
-Martin I. Tinio, Jr.