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Chinese Vernacular Furniture

Classical Chinese furniture developed from ancient times.

It was made of Chinese precious hardwood such as zitan (purple sandalwood), huanghuali (Yellow Flower Pear Wood), hongmu (redwood or black wood), wumu (ebony).

In the 1980-s when China opened up western collector had discovered a new variety of antiques, 100-300 years old, elegant, rustic, simple, complex.

This furniture came from the final years of the Qing dynasty. It was the time when a new, wealthy merchant class rose to prominence and wanted homes and furnishings on accord with their status.

Unlike the ruling estate, their taste was not constrained by imperial rules about how the furniture should and should not look. This type of furniture is often called vernacular furniture. So, there was furniture rustic, ordinary, used in farm homes and peasant villages, but at the other end of scale there was furniture made as luxury items for merchants with wealth of stunning proportions. There were softer woods used in this kind of furniture, such as southern and northern elm, cedar, camphor, walnut, cypress, and some others. The soft wood better holds a color and was carved easier than hard wood.

The East Meets West Gallery presents antique vernacular Chinese furniture of late Qing dynasty (1644-1912):
1) a pair of folding horseshoe armchairs with carved back, sometimes called "imperial hunting chairs". New antiques, huanghuali wood (Yellow Flower Pear Wood);
2) an altar table - the most important piece of furniture in a Chinese home - with averted ends and carved spandrels. Cedar wood, ca. 18-th c.;
3) a pair of very well preserved standing adjustable lamps. Shanxi province, northern elm wood, 19-th c.

Folding horseshoe armchair.
New antiques, huanghuali wood
(Yellow Flower Pear Wood)
(before restoration)