Westerners have long admired Chinese furniture for its durability, inner strength, quiet restraint, and simple dignity. Especially attractive to the educated eye are its purity of line, devotion to detail, and flawless construction. This unabridged reprint of a rare classic provides lovers of Chinese furniture with an enlightened discussion of the accomplishments achieved by fine craftsmen over the centuries, including the aesthetic levels attained during the early Shang period (1766–1123 B. C.), the transitional phase of cabinetmaking during the Yuan Dynasty (1280–1368 A.D.), and the perfection in craftsmanship reached during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644 A.D.). The text also reviews the origins and development of basic forms and methods of construction — from the selection of wood to its processing, cutting, joining, ornamentation, and final polishing.
Long considered the definitive work on Chinese hardwood furniture in a Western language, this indispensable guide contains 161 superb plates that include photographs and drawings of tables, chairs, couches, cabinets, cupboards, and wardrobes. There are also measured drawings for 21 exquisitely crafted pieces for woodworkers interested in creating authentic Chinese furniture.
When the first edition of this volume was published more than 40 years ago in Peking, only 200 copies were printed. Today, each of the few remaining originals is worth several thousands of dollars. Now available in a handsome and affordable reprint edition, this volume is a unique addition to the libraries of woodworkers, art lovers, and anyone interested in Chinese culture and décor.
Reprint of the Editions Henri Vetch, Peking, 1944 edition.
Original Chinese title
Publisher's Note, 1986
List of Plates [general groupings]
The box construction and its platform derivatives
The yoke rack and kindred platform devices
Splay leg cabinets and related designs
Craftmanship - Ornament - Dating
Cabinet making after Yüan - Rise and decline
Note [on furniture terminology]
List of Pieces [detailed descriptions]
Original Chinese colophon
Plates 1 through 161