Alternate name / botanical classification: Pterocarpus santalinus (species)
Zitan is a type of tropical hardwood and an exceptionally rare species to the extent that it is relatively unknown in the West. Zitan's very dense grain and hardness means that it would submerge in water. In ancient China it widely accepted that only the Imperial household was allowed to own Zitan in China between 1600-1900.
Zitan is arguably extinct because Zitan trees grow very slowly and havealways been in low supply. Consequently, few pieces of Zitan Chinese Antique Furniture and Scholar pieces exist, which are owned predominantly in the hands of museums and Chinese Antique Collectors.