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Antiques Considered - March 12, 2014

A lady in Kilmarnock inherited this pair of oriental tables many years ago.  She thinks the wood is teak, and the overall condition is excellent, save for one of the lower stretchers that has been broken and taped together with black electric tape.  The stains on the top are from two jardinières that contained plants.  They are unmarked as to origin, and are 22 inches high.

These tables probably are Japanese, and date from the late nineteenth century.  The absence of a maker’s mark indicates that they were made prior to 1891.  In addition, having no indication of the country of origin possibly means that they were intended for domestic use.

The stains might come out with careful application of a mild cleanser.  As to the broken stretcher, I recommend seeking professional assistance in properly repairing it.  If it was a clean break, wood glue and a clamp should be able to handle the problem.  

Oriental furniture is not as popular as it was a generation ago.  These are nice tables, and have good, is not exceptional, carving, but are not in what we might term a rare category.  Twenty-five years ago our firm conducted a sale in Washington for the estate of a lady who had filled her entire four-story house with orientalia.  She had numerous pieces similar to these tables, most of which sold well.  

As a rule, people use oriental pieces as accents, rather than as complete themes in decorating.  This pair of tables fits into such a scheme quite well.  The scalloped marble inserts show nice cutting, and the carving, if heavy, still is attractive.  The pair is worth $250, assuming the stains come out and the stretcher gets repaired, the cost of which should be minimal.   

Teak pieces such as these are often subject to shrink-and-swell conditions as the temperature and humidity change in a house.  They do best under even climate conditions.

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