Altar table of balayong (Afzalia rhomboidea) with two large drawers and plank top with molded lower edge.
The drawers are flanked by narrowing flanges with fine lappet edges. The posts are emphasized by chanelling and parellel inlay strings of ebony (kamagong, or Diospyros blancoi) and light wood (lanite or Wrightia pubescens), as are the flanges, and the drawers, the central fields of which are so bordered and with concave-cut corners.
The rectitude and angularity of the upper upright members are counterpointed with the graceful ogival arched apron, accented with a pair of delicate trefoil terminals and a prominent central lappet.
The cabriole legs stand on simplified squashed spheres atop elongated ogee feet, interconnected by flat wide stretchers.
This alter table is in the classic style of the anonymous furniture maestro whose atelier was located in the Taal area (now San Pascual town), Batangas, active from around the 1810s, to around the 1840s. He has been tentatively identified as the second, or Batangas Master II. To distinguish him from the first (ca. the 1770s to the 1810s) (Vide Ramon Villegas. Classic Furniture in the Paulino Que Collection, Arts of Asia, etc)
The underlying influence of the Chinese and Rococo style, suppressed beneath neoclassical restraint and sober grace, support the very early 19th century dating for this elegant piece. (RNV)