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Guangzhou-style hardwood furniture

Updated : May 27, 2022

Guangzhou-style hardwood furniture is representative of traditional folk handicrafts in South China’s city of Guangzhou. It won the favor of the royal family in the late Ming Dynasty and it became the most common kind of imperial furniture in the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) due to its luxurious style. In the mid Qing Dynasty, the furniture incorporated the exquisite modeling and decorative motifs of the Baroque and Rococo styles and formed its own characteristics. During the period of the Republic of China (1912-49), the furniture production industry went through a decline due to the impact of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), but recovered after the war was over. As an important category of Chinese furniture, Guangzhou-style furniture integrated Chinese production techniques and elements of western culture, forming a distinct “Lingnan style”.

Guangzhou-style furniture features refined materials, exquisite workmanship, delicate carving and sophisticated inlays. This furniture is typically made of padauk, sandal wood and rosewood. Its production process consists of material selection, design, wood cutting, processing, decoration, polishing, waxing, lacquering and assembly. Carving and inlaying are the most characteristic decorative features of this furniture. Carving incorporates openwork, relief, round carving and line carving, while the inlays are made of marble, shell, jewels and bones. The utilization of gilt techniques, colored painting and thread weaving enamel also adds to the beauty of this furniture.

Guangzhou-style hardwood furniture has a solemn and graceful appearance, harmonious arrangement and unique artistry. It is a representation of the complexity of Chinese furniture manufacturing, as well as has great historical value.


Guangzhou-style hardwood furniture [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

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