Antique Chinese Furniture

Antique Chinese furniture is items of furniture that were made in China over 100 years ago. It is usually made of soft or hard wood, and it is often decorated with lacquer, carvings and paintings giving it its unique and sort after appearance. Antique Chinese furniture is now used in modern homes and can work well with a variety of other styles, but it is also widely collected by people who appreciate its history and beauty with an interest of adding pieces as an investment for the future.

Some of the most sought-after pieces of antique Chinese furniture are made from Zitan and huanghuali wood. These two woods are prized for their beauty and durability, and pieces made from them will last for centuries

Antique Chinese lacquer with gilt detail
( Section of fine gilt work detail on a lacquered kang table c1880)
Chinese Export furniture

For years, Chinese furniture has been one of the most popular exports around the world. Thanks to its affordable price and high quality, Chinese furniture has been a top choice for many consumers. In the 18th century, Chinese furniture enjoyed a vogue in England. The craze began in 1742 when Lord Cathcart, the British ambassador to China, returned to England with a large collection of Chinese furniture. Other aristocrats followed suit, and by the 1760s Chinese furniture was all the rage. The fashion for Chinese furniture had a number of effects on English interior decoration, first, it led to a new interest in lacquerware; previously, English furniture had been mostly made of wood, but now the addition of lacquer became increasingly popular, Second, it made an interior trend of using brightly-coloured paint and patterned wallpaper within English homes.

English Regency Chinese lacquered games table

(Antique Regency Lacquered Games Table c1830)

How to identify Antique Chinese furniture?

To the untrained eye, it can be difficult to identify a true piece of antique Chinese furniture. However, there are a few key characteristics that when looked at together can help you tell if a piece is truly an antique. One of the most important things to look for is how the piece is constructed. Antique Chinese furniture was traditionally made by skilled craftsmen using high-quality materials. The joints should be tight and well-made, and the overall construction should be solid and sturdy, in addition, take a close look at the details of the piece. Antique furniture was often decorated with intricate carvings or hand-painted designs, these details were usually done by hand, so they will have a unique and irregular appearance.

Chinese Antique Cabinet
(18th Century Chinese Hardwood Tapered cabinet )
The exceptional quality Timber:

Zitan is a hardwood that is dark brown in colour with a fine grain. It is very strong and resistant to rot, making it an ideal choice for furniture. Huanghuali wood is a very hard wood that is light red or pink in colour. It has a beautiful grain pattern and is also very strong. Both Zitan and Huanghuali wood are difficult to come by today, so furniture made from these woods has an increased value. If you're lucky enough to find a piece of antique Chinese furniture made from either of these woods, be sure to take good care of it as it will last, be a good investment and can be passed down from generation to generation.

Hongmu wood is a unique and stunning material that has been used in traditional Chinese furniture for centuries. prized for its beauty, strength, and durability, hongmu wood is now becoming ever more popular in the Western world as people discover its many benefits. If you're looking for a material that will make your furniture stand out from the rest, hongmu wood is a great option. Its rich colours and grain patterns are truly one-of-a-kind, and it's built to last for generations

Carved hongmu Display Cabinet
(Carved Detail from Hongmu Display Cabinet)

Chinese Elm wood furniture is some of the most economical and unique furniture available on the market. It is often lacquered, which gives it a shiny, almost gem-like appearance. The process of lacquering furniture is a time-consuming one that involves many layers of lacquer and drying time between each layer. it is not only beautiful, but it is also very durable. The lacquer finish protects the wood from moisture and wear, making it perfect for high traffic areas in your home. Whether you are looking for a statement piece for your living room or a functional piece for your dining room, Chinese elm furniture is a great option.

Chinese Elm Console table
(Chinese Elm Console table)

Chinese daybeds and Kang tables. As anyone who's ever shopped for furniture knows, finding the perfect piece can be a challenge. But when it comes to antique Chinese furniture, the options are seemingly endless. From daybeds and Kang tables to cabinets and chairs, there's something for everyone. And the best part? These pieces are not only beautiful, but they're also built to last.

So if you're in the market for some new furniture, be sure to check out the stunning selection of antique Chinese pieces. You won't be disappointed.

The history of antique Chinese furniture

The earliest furniture found is from the Han Dynasty (206BC - 220AD) forms including low tables and stands, during this period nomadic tribes came from the west and introduced them to a folding stool, moving up a few hundred years to the song Dynasty (960- 1279AD) ad furniture was getting quite popular with the wealthy, and becoming produced in larger quantities this is where the basics for structural design and techniques started. In my opinion the Ming period (1368-1644AD)is the golden age for Chinese furniture, cabinet work had got finer and with more precision, the use of early exotic timber and very simple clean look to the furniture. In the Qing dynasty(1644-1911) Cabinetmakers were all over china producing most of the Antique furniture that you will see around today.

Tips for buying antique Chinese furniture

When it comes to antique Chinese furniture, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, look for solid construction. Chinese furniture is known for its durability, so make sure the piece you're interested in is well-made and sturdy. Second, pay attention to the appearance of the furniture. Antique pieces should show signs of wear and age, but they should still be in good condition overall. Finally, consider the quality of the piece. Antique furniture is usually made from high-quality materials, so make sure to inspect it closely before making a purchase. By following these tips, you can be sure you're getting a piece of furniture that will last for years to come.

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