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furniture

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W360xD190XH360mm, China

This fine lacquered cabinet was a household shrine for worshiping the ancestors in the Chaozhou area.  Ancestral tablets would be kept inside of the cabinets, with the higher ranking ancestor on the upper stage and the others on the lower level.  The decoration of the exterior of the doors are blessing figures of warriors and top scholars (zhuang yuan) while in the interior are scholarly plants, all a blessing for the descendants of the family.

The ancestral tablets are made of word with the name of the ancestor.  The legend goes like this; a long time ago there lived a poor widow and her son.  The son was a brute, abusive to the mother verbally and sometimes even physically, but the mother took care of him all the same.  One day, while the son was collecting logs in the mountain he saw a mother bird busy looking for food to feed her young, so tired is the bird that she collapsed in the nest after feeding the nestling.  Seeing this the young man realized he had been wrong of how he had treated his mother and felt terrible.  Right about the same time, his mother arrived with his lunch, the young man hurried to greet his mother.  Not knowing his intention, the mother told she would get another beating, she put down the food and started to run down the hill.  The son yelled behind her and the mother hurried, tripped, hit a tree and died.  Unable to tell his mother how sorry he had been, he took a piece of the tree, wrote on it his mother’s name and worship it on her birthday.  The character of the son changed and became a very successful man and the idea of ancestral tablets were adopted by others.

worship cabinet

bed alcove

Come to see our selection of furniture!

window lattice

W460xH1030mm, China

   These wooden window lattices belonged to the houses of Hui Zhou, an area with elaborated civilian architecture brought on by the wealth of the successful merchants in the area.  The Hui style architecture is unique, a combination of the local stilt houses and official northern courtyard houses, suiting to the southern climate, resulted in 2 stories courtyard houses with the living area directly opened to the inner courtyard with no wall or door in between, hence the courtyard which open up to the sky becomes part of the living area.  This pair of window lattice would have been used for the ground floor bedroom facing the living area.  They would have belonged to a humble family, though the craftsmanship is not as elaborated as that of the Yin Yu Tang, it is entirely put together by notches and without the use of a single nail.

See the Yin Yu Tang, a house transported from Hui Zhou to the  Peabody Essex Museum.

W390xD320xH800mm, China

This chair is called a Lamp Hanger Chair, it got its name because it takes on the form of a bamboo oil lamp hanger used in southern China.  This style of chair went back a long way, it was even depicted in a painting in the 5 Dynasty period of around 950AD, it then became the most typical chair type in the Ming Dynasty.   The chair has a simplistic form and uses mainly rounded rod as key members.  This particular chair is a smaller version of a typical chair.

W470xD370xH950mm, China

This is one chair from a pair.  This type of chair is known as “chair with armrest, scroll style headrest with guai zi dragon pattern”, my translate is not perfect but believe me the Chinese name is equally as long.  The armrest need no explanation, the scroll style headrest refers to the top of the head board that turns in at the back similar to that of the old Chinese scroll.  The head board is decorated with relief carving panels of blessing symbols.  The guai zi dragon is the pattern that forms the back and the armrest of the chair, it is also echoed as a decoration on front of the seat and at bottom of the legs.  Guai zi dragon is a pattern that is commonly used in furniture and architectural decoration; it is broadly divided into 2 styles, a more realistic type where from pattern one can tell the head and claws of the dragon where the dragon is usually quite animated and a more conceptual style (as on this chair).

This type of chair was popular from the middle Qing dynasty, particularly in the Southern region of China.  It is normally placed in the study, on the 2 sides of the table or facing the table.

China

This is part of the armrest detail for the Chinese wooden furniture.

Come check them out!

Come check them out!