Beginners' Introduction & Background to Chinese Antique Furniture

The types of Chinese furniture advanced along three unmistakable heredities which goes back to 1000 BC taking into account edge and board, burden and rack (in light of post and rail found in engineering) and bamboo development strategies. Chinese home furniture developed freely of Western furniture into numerous comparable structures including seats, tables, stools, cupboards, informal lodging.

Social Context

What is currently viewed as the Chinese stylish had its birthplaces in China as far back as 1500-1000 BC. The furniture present in a portion of the work of art from that early period demonstrates woven mats on raised floors, some of the time joined by arm rests, giving seating joined by low tables. In this early period both unadorned and unpredictably engraved and painted pieces were at that point developing.

Buddhism, entering China around AD 200, carried with it the possibility of (the Buddha) sitting upon a raised stage rather than essentially tangles. The stage was received as a honorific seat for unique visitors and dignitaries or authorities. Longer forms were then utilized for leaning back also, which in the long run advanced into the quaint little inn. Taller adaptations developed into higher tables also. The collapsing stool additionally multiplied likewise, after it was adjusted from plans created by traveling tribes toward the North and West, who utilized them for both their comfort and light weight in numerous applications, for example, mounting stallions. Later, woven hourglass-formed stools developed; an outline still being used today all through China. 

A portion of the styles now broadly viewed as Chinese started seeming all the more conspicuously in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). It is here that confirmation of early forms of the round and burden back seats are found, for the most part utilized by the tip top. By the following two Dynasties (the Northern and Southern Song) the utilization of differing sorts of furniture, including seats, seats, and stools was regular all through Chinese society. Two specific improvements were recessed legs and waisted tables. Fresher and more unpredictable outlines were for the most part constrained to official and higher class use. 

It was from this premise more cutting edge Chinese furniture built up its recognizing qualities. Utilization of thick polish complete and definite engravings and depictions and in addition down to earth outline components would keep on flourishing. Critical remote outline impact would not be felt until expanded contact with the West started in the nineteenth century, because of endeavors with respect to the decision world class to point of confinement exchange. 

Amid the Ming and Qing lines past bans on imports were lifted, taking into account bigger amounts and assortments of woods to surge in from different parts of Asia. The utilization of denser wood prompted much better work, including more involved joinery. A Ming Imperial table completely secured in cut finish, now in London, is one of the finest survivals of the period.

Four Classes 

Chinese furniture customarily comprised of four unmistakable classes, all framed by the mid Qing line, however each with its own novel attributes. 

Beijing classification (京式家具): described by its basic form, straightforwardly created from Ming Dynasty furnitures. 

Guangzhou classification (广式家具): fusing western impact, shaped in the nineteenth century. Described by the adoptation of the decrorative mounting of marble and the shells of shellfish. 

Shanghai classification (海式家具): portrayed by its decrorative figure and molded paint. 

Suzhou class (苏式家具): Opposite to the Beijing classification, described by its intricate enrichment, created from early Qing Dynasty furnitures.


Name | Chinese Translation | Plant Genus | Description

Huali wood    花黎木    Pterocarpus    Woods regularly from P. cambodianus, P. dalbergioides, P. erinaceus, P. indicus, P. macarocarpus, P. pedatus, and P. marsupium. This wood is referred to monetarily in the West as "padauk". 

Zitan wood    紫檀木    Dalbergia    Woods from Dalbergia nigra, a burgendy-dark wood that oxidizes into a purple-dark shading. Profoundly esteemed 

Hong suanzhi wood    紅酸枝木   Dalbergia Reddish shaded woods that have a sharp/bitter notice when crisply cut. The forested areas are regularly from D. bariensis, D. cearensis, D. ochinchinensis, D. frulescensvar, D. granadillo, D. oliveri, D. retusa 

Hei suanzhi wood    黑酸枝木   Dalbergia Dark shaded woods that have a sharp/bitter notice when crisply cut. The forested areas are regularly from D. cultrate, D. fusca, D. latifolia, D. louvelii, D. melanoxylon, D. nigra, D. spruceana, and D. stevensonii 

Xiangzhi wood    香枝木   Dalbergia The wood from Dalbergia odorifera and known normally by the name "Huanghua li" (黄花梨, actually yellow blossomed pear) or "Jiangxiang huangtan" (降香黄檀, truly Fragrant yellow hardwood). This is a standout amongst the most esteemed and customarily utilized hardwoods for Chinese furniture before its overharvesting from Chinese residential sources. 

Wu/Yinchen wood    烏木/陰沉木    Diospyros    Typically alludes to woods from Diospyros crassiflora, Diospyros ebenum, Diospyros pilosanthera, and D. poncei, which are known as coal black in the west. Name is in some cases mixed up connected to Dalbergia nigra. 

Tiaowen wu wood    條紋烏木    Woods from trees of class Diospyros with clear dull and light striations. Mainly Diospyros blancoi, Diospyros celebica and Diospyros melanoxylon. 

Jichi wood    雞翅木    Millettia and Other genus    Woods which have a finely designed, high differentiation grain that is like the plumes of certain flying creatures, for example, chickens and partridges. The wood is taken normally from Millettia laurentii (非洲崖豆木), Millettia leucantha (白花崖豆木), Ormosia hosiei(相思木), and either Senna siamea or Mesua ferrea (鐵力木) [6] additionally from a wide assortment of sort and species including, Terminalia tomentosa, Diplotropis purpurea, Hymenolobium excelsum, Andira inermis, and Steculit oblonga.


Great Chinese furniture is regularly made of a class of hardwoods, referred to altogether as "rosewood" (紅木, truly "red wood"). These woods are denser than water, fine grained, and high in oils and gums. These properties make them dimensionally steady, hardwearing, decay and creepy crawly safe, and when new, profoundly fragrant. The thickness and strength of the wood likewise permits furniture to be worked without the utilization of paste and nail, yet rather developed from jointery and doweling alone. As per the Chinese business guidelines the forested areas are assembled into eight classes:


Development of customary wooden Chinese furniture is based fundamentally of strong wood pieces associated exclusively utilizing carpentry joints, and once in a while utilizing paste or metallic nails. The reason was that nails and pastes utilized did not stand up well to the tremendously fluctuating temperatures and damp climate conditions in the majority of Central and South-East Asia.[7] As well, the exceptionally slick and resinous woods utilized as a part of Chinese furniture don't stick well, notwithstanding when pre-cleaned with present day mechanical solvents. 

Stage development depends on box plans and uses casing and-board development in basic structure amid prior periods advancing into more changed structures in later periods. While prior pieces indicate full edge and-board development procedures, distinctive parts of the development were changed during that time to create various looking pieces which still have the same fundamental development. To start with the board, initially finish, is liable to remove areas, trailed by further decrease to what may have all the earmarks of being basically ornamental sections. Further refinement of the same example lead the state of the enhancing sections being joined into the state of the encompassing edge and at the same time the two mitered vertical pieces involving a corner get to be one strong piece. Pieces begin to have little cross-pieces connected to the base of the feet instead of a casing that is equivalent on all sides lastly, with development of the perplexing carpentry joints that permit it, the cross-pieces are evacuated, leaving an advanced table with 3-way mitered corners. Dissimilar to European-inferred styles, table plans taking into account this style will about dependably contain an edge in-board best, the board serving as the tabletop focus and the edge once in a while likewise serving as what might be rails on an European table. Cupboards in this style have a top that does not jut past the sides or front. The basic component in all bits of this write is the mitered joints, particularly the 3-way mitered joining of the leg and two even pieces at every corner. 

The Yoke and Rack development contrasts basically in the way that the legs of the piece are joined to the level part (be it tabletop, seat or bureau corpse) utilizing a kind of wedged mortise-and-tenon joint where the end grain of the leg is unmistakable as a circle in the edge of the tabletop. The cross-pieces (stretchers in the western proportionate) are joined through mortise-and-tenon joinery too. The legs and stretchers are generally round instead of square or curvilinear. The least complex pieces are just four spread legs connected to a strong top, however more convoluted pieces contain ornamental sections, drawers and metal locks. Cupboards in this style commonly have an overhanging top like western-style cabinetry. 

Bamboo development style, albeit truly established in pieces produced using bamboo, later saw numerous pieces produced using hardwood with designing to copy the look of bamboo, or basically in the style of past pieces produced using bamboo. The development is more like the Yoke and Rack style with some obvious hybrid.