Rare Zitan furniture is best known for its rich red and purple tones as well as its wonderfully intricate carved designs. Zitan is part of the rosewood family and the trees are native to the tropical forests of southern China, Indochina and islands in the Indian Ocean.

blog China, Qing Dynasty, carved Zitan chair
Altair Auctions

blog2 China, 19th C., Zitan nesting table, with four individual tables of different heights
Altair Auctions

Legend has it that the dark color was associated with the Qing dynasty, and royal household were the only ones allowed to have the furniture.

The wood is also so rare due to the fact that it grows incredibly slowly. The furniture first came to Europe during the Ming and Qing dynasties, when Americans and Europeans travelled to China and exported the furniture back to Europe and the US.

blog3 China, Qing Dynasty carved Zitan table with marble top
Altair Auctions

blog4 China, 19th C., carved Zitan cabinet with marble top
Altair Auctions

At Bonhams last year, a rare pair of zitan and hongmu recessed leg altar tables from 18th/19th century sold for $2 714 500, which highlights how desirable these pieces of Zitan are.

blog5 China, Qing Dynasty, Zitan table with marble top, the top in a flower shape
Altair Auctions

Altair's Asian Art and Antiques sale on September 6 has a fantastic selection of Zitan pieces. Search the catalog here.

Comment