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Archive for the ‘Arts and Crafts in the Field of Furnishings’ Category

Glassware

July 14th, 2006 No comments
Sui Dynasty covered pot made of green glass.

Sui Dynasty covered pot made of green glass.

Glassware containing lead and barium emerged as early as the Western Zhou Dynasty. The lead-barium glass requires a relatively low melting temperature. It looks sparkling and crystal clear, but thin and brittle, and can not resist sharp drop or rise in temperature. It is therefore unfit for making utensils or apparatuses. Often lead-barium glass was processed to make ornaments, ritual objects or funerary objects.

By the beginning of the Warring States Period, dragonfly-eye and jade-imitation glass was invented. Dragonfly-eye glass is prepared by adhering multicolor rings on top of glass beads, looking like dragonfly-eyes, thus the name. in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Period, glass techniques became mature and technical exchange with foreign country started. The technical process in making glass includes casting, twining, inlaying, etc. glass objects such as bi (a round piece of jade with a hole in its center used for ceremonial purposes in ancient China), ring and sword are prepared by pouring melted glass into moulds.
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Furniture

January 7th, 2006 No comments

Court Music by Zhou Fang in Dynasty (copy in Song Dynasty)Furniture is closely related to people’s life-style and environment. The sitting posture of the Chinese people has changed from sitting on the floor as in ancient times to sitting on a seat as in present day. The shape of furniture falls accordingly into two series, the low-type and the high-type to suit people’s needs at respective historical stages.

From the Shang and Zhou down to the Han and Wei dynasties, people used to sit on the floor or take a half-kneeling, half-sitting position. The limited pieces of furniture available at that time such as narrow oblong tables and side tables were all low and short, which could be moved about without being placed in fixed position. In the Three Kingdom Period, a high-type seat Hu-chuang (literally bed from non Han areas), similar to present-day campstool, was introduced for the first time to Han people from the minority nationalities region. As time went by, higher articles for home use such as round stools, square stools started to appear in the Central Plain area. Beds, couches, etc. also became higher gradually, though low furniture still took a dominant position. Starting from the Western Jin Dynasty, the concept of half-sitting, half-kneeling posture as was required by etiquette, gradually faded. People either sat on the floor with legs stretched out, or sat cross-legged, or sat aslant, just as they pleased. And then the side-table was created which was placed on the bed for leaning against or leaning back, together with yinnang, something like a modern back-cushion.
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Wood carving

July 17th, 2005 No comments
Ming Dynasty eaglewood mandarin duck hand warmer, 5 cm high, 6.5 cm long, 6.5 cm wide

Ming Dynasty eaglewood mandarin duck hand warmer, 5 cm high, 6.5 cm long, 6.5 cm wide

Woodcarving in China constitutes three major categories: architecture carving, furniture carving and artworks carving. Woodcarving as handiworks for display or fondling started from the Song Dynasty when the practice of fondling artworks gradually rose among men of letters and refined scholars. This prevailing custom reached its climax in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Furnishing artworks are a traditional category in wood carving, which are placed on cabinets, windowsills, tables, shelves, etc. Wood carving can also be used to decorate all sorts of furniture and other artworks such as jade-ware, cloisonné and chinaware.

Woodcarving can be seen all over the region on both sides of the Yangtze River where the best known includes the Dongyang woodcarving in Guangdong Province, the golden-lacquer woodcarving in Zhejiang Province, longan woodcarving in Fujian Province and Huizhou woodcarving in Anhui Province.

Dongyang County of Zhejiang Province has always been celebrated for being the “home of carving.” Dongyang woodcarving started from the Tang Dynasty, developed in the Song Dynasty and became popular in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Dongyang carvings preserve the original textures and colors of the wood which, when meticulously polished, make the finished works appear smooth and lustrous. Relief carving is the essence of Dongyang woodcarving in which the depth of the patterns ranges between two and five millimeters. The centerpiece is focused on by the force of the cutting. The designs of Dongyang woodcarving lays stress on “carving all over the background,” which means to have patterns carved over the entire surface of the object so that it has three dimensional display while the background is fully covered. That is a unique artistic style.
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