Classic Chinese Furniture

Shih-Hsiang Wang, Author Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group $95 (285p) ISBN 978-0-8351-1769-2
Even though strict principles governed Chinese furniture design of the Ming and early Qing dynasties, artisans created a myriad of forms and variations within this framework. The golden age of classical Chinese furniture lasted from approximately 1520 to 1735. Wine tables, officials' low-backed armchairs, carved clothes racks placed at the end of a bed, multipaneled folding screens, incense stands and a great canopy bed with full-moon opening, carved with dragon and flower reliefs, are among the 162 pieces assembled here from public and private collections in China. What at first appears monotonous turns out to be an art of great variety and sophistication. The author, a former curator of Beijing's Palace Museum, has produced a scholarly handbook with 332 color plates. It covers construction methods, types of precious hardwoods used, stylistic variations, even the ingenious joinery techniques that have helped these pieces endure for centuries. (February)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
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