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Qing Dynasty Furniture

Qing Dynasty furniture occupies an important place in Chinese furniture, and is various in texture, styles and schools. It emerged in the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) duringthe region of Emperor Kangxi, and developed in the reign of Emperor Yongzheng and the subsequent two hundred years.In nowadays, Qing Dynasty furniture spread its unique characters to the world and still possesses the high collecting value.

Characters of Qing style furniture

1. Various types, multi-functioned design with transformation, elaborate skill and stable structure. Decorative materials such as gold, silver, jade, ivory and other gemstones are mounted on the Qing Dynasty furniture. As for the decorative style, Qing style furniture focuses on the magnificent and dignified design. Artificial carving, golden edge, colored drawing and other techniques are widely used on making the furniture.

2. Carefully material selecting and making process. The materials selected in Qing Dynasty furniture prefer deep colors hardwoods such as rosewood, sandalwood, ebony and beech, so as to guarantee that the color and luster lamination of appearance are unanimous, and make sure it is a very firm structure.

Qing Dynasty Furniture

3. Well-considered and various designed decorations. One of the most obvious characters of Qing Dynasty furniture is the elaborate decoration. Craftsmen in Qing Dynasty applied all the possible materials and methods to produce the Qing Dynasty furniture. The most commonly used methods are carving and inlaying. The furniture can be decorated with ivory carving, bamboo carving and lacquer carving and embedded with patterns made of wood, bamboo, stone, china, mother-of-pearl. The decorative patterns use various homophonic names of auspicious words. For example, Ruyi Jade inserted in a treasure bottle means safety and fortune; the combination of magpies and plum blossoms represent Eye Twinkle with Joy.

4. Qing style furniture is deeply influenced by the western style furniture. There are two kinds of furniture influenced by western style furniture. One is tototally copy the western style furniture with poor handicraft. The other one is a combination of traditional Chinese furniture and western style furniture . 

Qing Dynasty Furniture

The history and development

In the early Qing Dynasty, furniture inherited characteristics of the Ming Dynasty, so it was still called Ming Dynasty furniture. From the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1622-1722), since the political power was stabilized and the economy improved, people began to pay more attention to more material things living there, and demanded decorative and luxurious furnishings. Manufacturers therefore had to seek innovations on the furniture technology, style and decoration. Qing style furniture emerged and was well received by the nobles and rich merchant. 

In the middle Qing Dynasty from the reign of Emperor Yongzheng, Emperor Qianlong to Emperor Jiaqing, the variety and quantity of furniture largely increased. The Qing furniture reached the highest level and set completely apart from Ming Furniture. Gaudiness and sumptuousness were basic features of Qing furniture which was usually heavy and sizable, featuring exquisitely carved patterns. Some pieces were carved from head to foot and had inlays of stone, mother-of-pearl, porcelain, metal, and enamel. Qing Dynasty Dynasty furniture had curved decorations and exaggerated shapes that demanded attention. Chinese traditional furniture has a strong aesthetic appeal due to its apparently simple lines and the fact that it makes use of "natural materials" such as the finest hardwoods-no fusty stuffed couches here. Ready comparisons can be made to Danish furniture, with its sparse lines.

In the late Qing Dynasty from the reign of Emperor Daoguang, the Opium War changed the destiny of ancient China, and deeply influenced the development of Qing style furniture. It blends the characteristics of Western architecture and Western style furniture. The furniture in Summer Palace is evidence of this special historical period. 

Qing style furniture

The classification of Qing Style furniture

1. Bed and thorn - there are framed bed and arhat bed. 

2. Chair, footstool, square stool, bench

3. Desk, table, tea table

4. Folding screen

5. Cabinet, cupboard, chest, chest of drawers, shelf

Canton style Qing furniture

Canton style Qing furniture was not cost-effective and used no split joint. A piece of Canton style Qing furniture was made of the same kind of wood, without using any other kinds. The decoration of Canton style Qing furniture was heavily influenced by Western cultural art, with various Western decorative patterns and motifs. 

Jiangsu style Qing furniture

Different from Canton style, Jiangsu style Qing furniture was rather cost-effective and prefer to use split joint. The decorative materials were drawn from the famous ancient paintings, themed at bamboo, pine, flowers and birds, landscape and mythologies. 

(Beijing) style Qing furniture

Most of the Peking style Qing furniture were made in the Qing Royal Workshop, and with strong Canton style characteristics, as all of the craftsmen were from Canton.  

Qing Dynasty furniture