The Culture of Chinese Antique Furniture

Written by Juliette Qi


As a country with a long history and refined civilization, China has a real taste for brightly colored furniture, which is heavily influenced by and involved in oriental and Asian traditions. Indeed, Chinese furniture exhibits both the common characteristics of Asian furniture and the main characteristics of traditional Chinese culture.

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Ancient Chinese furniture is often crafted based on the necessary conditions of Yin and Yang, a Taoist belief. Thus, its design is optimized not only for practical use but also to ensure a better Fengshui, a chance in life or spiritual protection according to the folk belief (this idea comes from an ancient belief). That’s why the color red is ubiquitous in Chinese furniture as we can see in the wedding cabinet, it represents positive energy. Copper or brass is widely used on sections of furniture which can be opened/closed due to its power to chase bad minds away.

Ancient Chinese furniture, which was intended either for the imperial court or ordinary people, was enhanced by cabinetmakers with excellent natural materials and with great care, extended and refined based on the traditions of previous dynasties dating back thousands of years.


Three Characteristics of Ancient Chinese Furniture

First of all, the job is always executed to perfection. The structure of the furniture is strictly adhered to and highly methodical while the lines are very smooth. Their splendor and clear colors (of what?) are realized by the delicate sculpting of the furniture and the repetitive varnishing, which occurs 7 times in total.

The Details of Careful Engraving


Secondly, the shapes and variety of models are totally unique throughout the whole world. There are more than 100 variations, like the imperial bed that was made over the course of a thousand days of work; There are also all sorts of dining tables, desks, chairs, wardrobes, buffets, screens, dining racks, buckets and benches. These are valuable works of art and are to be appreciated by everyone.

Last but not least, the decorative patterns on the windows or doors have very specific powers. According to Chinese legends, they are able to hunt down evil spirits and bring good luck to the family.


Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Styles of Chinese Furniture

Southeast China has a temperate and mild climate. The generous nature there offers a very flowery and green spring, at the same a very rich and varied harvest autumn time. Thus, from the first imperial dynasties until today, these very favorable conditions make the region the “land of fish and rice”(like the land of milk and honey) – the major financial assets of ancient and agricultural China. This cultural subtlety gives cabinetmakers in the region a favorable condition for sumptuous and extremely varied creations. Furniture facades often describe a scene of life or nature: the flight of birds, flowers, plants are the most common decorations .

Tea Table with Bird and Flower Motifs


In contrast, northern China is cold, dry, and sometimes arid. The people there are simple, honest and frank. The furniture looks like its users, it is rustic and solid, but very practical.


Furniture and decorations are seen by Chinese families as signs of wealth and they really appreciate their furniture. To equip their places, they choose the raw materials used to create their furniture with the greatest care – wood, bamboo etc. They also invite experienced cabinet-makers to come to their homes for a few weeks. These traveling cabinet-makers, admired by all, are housed fed and laundered and perform their craft to the highest standard, each with his own style, leading to a wide variety of creations.




About Interact China

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide” 

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 10 years solid experience in e-commerce via, we position well to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and bring you direct finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste.

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion, Kungfu Clothing, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts.

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!

If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at, we would love to hear from you!


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