Chinese Domestic Furniture
in Photographs and Measured Drawings
by Gustav Ecke

210 x 285mm

Published by Dover Publications, Mineola, NY USA


ISBN 0-486-25171-3

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Extract from back cover of book:

To comprehend the life of a civilized people one must know something of its household furniture and the setting for its daily living. George N. Kates, Chinese Household Furniture

Westerners have long admired Chinese furniture for its durability, inner strength, quiet restraint and simple dignity. Especially attractive to the educated eye are its purity of line, devotion to detail and flawless construction. This unabridged reprint of a rare classic provides lovers of Chinese furniture with an enlightened discussion of the accomplishments achieved by fine craftsmen over the centuries, including: the aesthetic levels attained during the early Shang period (1766-1123 s.c.), the transitional phase of cabinetmaking during the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368 A.D.) and the perfection in craftsmanship reached during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). The text also reviews the origins and development of basic forms and methods of construction from the selection of wood to its processing, cutting, joining, ornamentation and final polishing.

Long considered the definitive work on Chinese hardwood furniture in a Western language, this indispensable guide contains 161 superb plates that include photographs and drawings of tables, chairs, couches, cabinets, cupboards and ward- robes. There are also measured drawings for 21 exquisitely crafted pieces for woodworkers interested in creating authentic Chinese furniture.

When the first edition of this volume was published in 1944 in Peking, only 200 copies were printed. Today, each of the few remaining originals is worth several thousands of dollars. Now available in a handsome and affordable reprint edition, this volume is a unique addition to the libraries of woodworkers, art lovers and anyone interested in Chinese culture and decor.

Photos and Illustrations: Black & White

Units of Measurement: Metric


Original Chinese title
Publisher's Note, 1986
List of Plates (general groupings)


The Box Construction and its Platform Derivatives

The Yoke Rack and Kindred Platform Devices

Trestle Combinations

The Seat

Splay Leg Cabinets and Related Designs

Square Cases

Cabinet Woods

Metal Mounts

Craftsmanship - Ornament - Dating

Cabinet Making after Yuan - Rise and Decline


Note (on furniture terminology)
List of Pieces (detailed descriptions)
Original Chinese colophon

Plates 1 through 161