Gold Brick Coffee Table

c. 1900
$3,680 USD SOLD
W: 26.0" D: 26.0" H: 17.75"
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Part of the long history of Chinese ceramics, the hand-crafted earthenware tile that tops this low table was originally used to pave the floors of the Forbidden City palace complex in Beijing. Reserved for use by only the imperial family, these dark grey tiles are known as “gold bricks” or “golden bricks,” or jīnzhuān, due to the celebratory colors of gold and yellow being associated with all things imperial.

Taking over a year to produce from start to finish, each brick would have been hand-crafted by a skilled ceramicist with official approval and manufactured exclusively at the imperial kiln outside of Suzhou in Jiangsu province. Each square tile is comprised of densely compressed earth, which was then baked at a low temperature for 4-5 months until hardened. Submerged in tung oil for an additional 6-8 months, the final product is at once highly durable, yet smooth and soft to the touch.

These imperial bricks were typically stamped with the date and place of manufacture, as seen on the short side of the tile. Set on a low wooden base, this historic golden brick lives on as storied coffee table or side table.

Earthenware tile is relatively soft. Handle with care.

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