Ming Dynasty Style Furniture
The Furniture in the Ming Dynasty generally refers to the furniture from the Ming Dynasty to the early Qing Dynasty with good materials, fine craftsmanship, and beautiful design.
The furniture in Ming dynasty can be classified into five categories according to the function: table & case category, bed & couch category, chair & stool category, frame & shelf category and screen category. The table & case category including tables and cases has the most varieties in the five categories. The bed & couch has three varieties, including the small bed with only the body part of bed, and the arhat bed with rear back, left and right enclosures, and the shelf bed with the pillar, enclosures and ceilings. The frame & shelf category refers to the utensils either for display or storages, or for both.
Making full use of the natural characteristics of the hard wood, the Ming dynasty style furniture is characterized by the simple design, precise structure, proper decoration and elegant textures, which constitutes its natural and lingering charm with elegance and profundity. Therefore the furniture made in later generations with the above characteristics is referred as “Ming Style Furniture” in general.
There are several reasons for the furniture in the Ming Dynasty to make such achievements: firstly, the furniture of Ming Dynasty inherited the good tradition of furniture manufacturing of Song Dynasty. Secondly, the society in the Ming Dynasty was quite stable, so the flourishing economy and foundation of towns and cities posed higher demand to the furniture and higher requirements to the craftwork level. Meanwhile, with the abolishment of the ban on maritime trade, a large amount of rosewood, chicken-wing wood, iron wood, Scented Wood and other solid wood was imported from aboard, so that it was possible for the craftsman to create the fine and solid furniture better than that of the previous dynasties.
Due to its profound cultural value, the furniture in the Ming Dynasty is attached with great importance in China’s craftwork history along with the lacquer works in the Qin and Han Dynasty and the gold and silver ware in the Tang Dynasty.