No Longer Looking for a Carved Oriental Zodiac Table

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For years my signature (.sig) file on Usenet included that I was “looking for a carved oriental zodiac table.” In fact, this Google groups search reveals several hundred hits, all of them me. I’m no longer looking. After 20 years, I’ve finally got one.

It all started with a visit to the Asian curio shop in Maple Leaf Village in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. I used to live just cross the bridge from there, and went to visit often. This particular visit, I saw the most incredible table – it was a coffee table, the bulk of which was carved out of a single piece of wood, with figures from the Chinese zodiac carved in very high relief down into the top of the table.

It was gorgeous.

The craftmanship was exquisite.


But at the time, it was waaaaay out of my price range. It was $1500 even back then, and I, a single mother supporting herself and her child, and putting herself through university, didn’t even have a spare $1.50, let alone a spare $1500.

I’ve been searching for that table, or one like it, ever since. Every few months I’d do a web search… every time I walked past an Asian furniture or curio shop I’d go in and ask them if they’d ever seen anything like it. I even called that store several years ago, and they remembered the table, and that it had sold to a doctor in North Carolina, but that’s all they knew – or I would have called that doctor and asked him to sell it to me.

Finally, about six months ago, and after 20 years, I gave up. I stopped searching, stopped going into the stores.

Yesterday, searching on Craigslist for something else completely (a work table), out of the blue this listing turned up in my search results. What were the odds??

There was my table.

Not the one from 20 years ago – but the same type of table – the same style, the same incredible craftmanship.

It had been listed that very day, at a firesale price because the young couple, with a new baby, needed to get rid of it.


And now it’s mine.

And so, my search is over. I am no longer Looking for a Carved Oriental Zodiac Table. I am now She with the Amazing Table.

Here it is:




5 thoughts on “No Longer Looking for a Carved Oriental Zodiac Table

  1. She with the amazing table.

    Nice ring to it.

    I thought it was some sort of unborn household pet melted chocolate orgy first. I guess your photographs make it look way scarier than it is.

  2. I have a table very similar if not identical to this piece. In addition I have two end tables of the same design. The feet on all of these tables is in a form of bear holding fish. All tables in set have quality glass tops laid on them.These tables were acquired in the late 1980s when I lived in south Korea. I’m looking to sell these beautiful pieces, either at auction or consignment. Most favorable to an individual that would love to purchase them at a top mark price. Anyone out there know how much these are worth? Any information is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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