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One of a pair of huanghuali cabinets which are offered together at Bonhams with a £100,000-150,000 estimate.

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However, as large pieces of furniture, which could dominate a room, they could also emphasise the taste and status of the owner – hence becoming the subject matter of learned discourse amongst the literati.

However, as large pieces of furniture, which could dominate a room, they could also emphasise the taste and status of the owner – hence becoming the subject matter of learned discourse amongst the literati.

Subject to such scrutiny, the materials and design of a piece were of the utmost importance among the elite. The expensive and cherished huanghuali wood is used most generously on a 17th century pair that come for sale at Bonhams Bond Street auction of Fine Chinese Art on November 9 with an estimate of £100,000-150,000.

The pair stand 6ft 3in (1.89m) high by 3ft 2in (97cm) wide and include bronze baitong (three-part rectangular lock plates and pulls) that would have met even Wen Zhenheng’s exacting standards.

Formerly the property of a European lady of title, they come for sale by descent.