Antique 1870s Chinese Qing Metalwork
20th Century Chinese Qing Ceramics
Antique 19th Century Chinese Qing Paintings and Screens
Antique 19th Century Chinese Qing Sculptures and Carvings
Antique Mid-19th Century Chinese Chinese Export Ceramics
A Close Look at qing Furniture
The last imperial dynasty from 1644 to 1912 was a time of change in China, beginning with the invasion by Manchurian forces that ended the Ming dynasty and established the Shunzhi Emperor. The expansion of exportation and trade that had bolstered the arts during the Ming era continued, as Qing dynasty furniture involved the same attention to craftsmanship with expert construction techniques in hardwood pieces that were assembled with mortise and tenon joints rather than nails or glue. Together, these eras comprise a golden age of Chinese furniture design.
Ming-style furniture is simple and elegant with clean lines. Chairs of the period and other Ming furniture made an impression on Scandinavian modernist Hans Wegner and his streamlined seating, for example. Whereas Qing-style furniture is elaborate, with an increasing influence from the West leading to lavish carving inspired by the European Baroque and Rococo styles. And while many of the forms that define examples of the latter are common within classical Chinese furniture, such as curving and folding chairs as well as large screens, Qing designs are laden with ornamentation. Frequently, the carved motifs and inlaid designs in mother-of-pearl were auspicious, such as peonies for wealth or dragons for luck. Bats were symbols of happiness in the design of Qing furniture, with one of the characters in the word for bat, bianfu, being a homophone for fu, or “fortune.”
While several types of wood were used in the construction of Qing beds, tables, storage pieces and seating, today’s collectors know that the most prized were the rare rosewoods zitan and huanghuali. They were both sourced from Hainan, China’s largest island, and are marked by a rich luster that occurs naturally, without the application of lacquer or other decorative materials. Many of the most popular woods were imported from southeast Asia, adding to their value. Red sandalwood was also sought after for its durability and connection with Chinese medicine, with some chairs being made for health benefits.
Finding the Right asian-art-furniture for You
From Japanese handmade earthenware pottery, originating circa 14,500 B.C. and adorned with elaborate corded patterns known as jōmon, to natural elm case pieces and storage cabinets built in Qing dynasty–era China to mid-century Thai rice-paper charcoal rubbings, antique and vintage Asian art and furniture make for wonderful additions to all kinds of contemporary interiors.
Eastern elements elevate any home’s decor. Introduce zen sensibility to your living room, dining room and bedroom with the neutral color palettes and the natural materials such as rattan, bamboo and elm that we typically associate with traditional Asian furniture. Decorative handwoven embroideries and textiles originating from India and elsewhere on the continent, which can be draped over a bed or sofa or used as a wall hanging, can be as practical as they are functional, just as you wouldn’t seek out Japanese room-divider screens — often decorated with paintings but constructed to be lightweight and mobile — merely for privacy.
With everything from blanket chests to lighting fixtures to sculptures and carvings, it’s easy to tastefully bring serenity to your living space by looking to the treasures for which the East has long been known.
For British-born furniture designer Andrianna Shamaris, the Japanese concept of beauty in imperfection isn’t limited to her Wabi Sabi collection. She embraces it in her New York City apartment as well. In the living area, for instance, she retained the fireplace’s original black marble while swathing its frame and the rest of the room in bright white.
“We left the fireplace very clean and wabi-sabi, so that it blended into the wall,” says Shamaris, who further appointed the space with a hand-carved antique daybed whose plush pillows are upholstered in antique textiles from the Indonesian island of Sumba.
In the growing antique and vintage Asian art and furniture collection on 1stDibs, find ceramics from China, antiquities from Cambodia and a vast range of tables, seating, dining chairs and other items from Japan, India and other countries.