Mid 19th C. Partners Desk

   Fali Dolls
  Mid 19th C. Partners Desk

Featured is an antique Chinese partner’s desk. It is unpretentious, but has enormous presence. Like all authentic objects, its story has been recorded in an endless series of impressions connecting us to other people, places and times. Intimate for one or two people, upon sitting down you can hear it whisper.

In old China a young married couple started a business selling eggs. They had a simple formula - fresh product delivered daily. They believed they would succeed with hard work, sincerity, and devotion, the same traits they brought to each other. In the beginning, they had nothing. The husband pieced together a table from scrap wood as a desk.

Mid 19th C. Partners Desk (detail)   

Over time, they prospered and their little table became swamped with paperwork, so they attained a partner’s desk. It was a place where they could sit, work, and smile at each other when they weren’t dealing with eggs or customers. The desk was modest and well designed. It was made from elm wood and had eight drawers and two compartments on either side.

When the Europeans discovered the endless joys of Chinese cuisine their business exploded. They made a fortune in quail eggs. They moved to a bigger space, but they still sat at their partner’s desk. Their family and friends said they should have a bigger desk, one that was carved, perhaps inlaid with jade. They politely said no. The desk made them feel grateful.

After the Boxer Rebellion they decided to retire. They moved back to their ancestral village near Shan Xi and built a house by the river. She spent her time gardening. He wrote their story at the partner’s desk. When it came time to finish, he and his wife agreed on the last line. He wrote, “I hope whoever sits at this desk will experience a life as wonderful as ours.”

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