The concept of chinoiserie became popular in European art and decoration in the 18th century, precisely because of the beauty and refined style of Chinese furniture and decor. Many of the shapes and designs appear as early as the 6th century in China. Seating was traditionally crafted from hardwoods, while jars and other tableware was made from porcelain.
While traditional Chinese decor has since evolved into more modern pieces made for everyday use, its distinct style and flair continue to fascinate contemporary designers around the world who seek to blend the elegant Eastern lines with Western textures. From classic blue and white porcelain jars to elegant lacquered furnishings, here are popular Chinese decor pieces you should know about.
Chinese Wedding Cabinet
Traditionally given to newly married couples of historic China, the Chinese wedding cabinet is a functional furniture piece that has gone on to become a modern staple in today’s residences.
Its spacious structure might have been originally intended for storing clothing and tableware, but nowadays, it’s easy to recognize this cabinet as the perfect hiding spot for the television. Modern renditions of the wedding cabinet feature sleek lines and minimal hues, but there’s still something so beautiful about the lacquered versions rich in symbols and scenic illustrations. Glassware, items for safekeeping or to stash board games; it’s a gorgeous storage unit that makes itself into a feature of the room.
Yokeback chairs or official’s hat chairs are characterized by a slender backrest with a yoke-shaped railing as well as a horizontal rail that runs between the chair’s legs. The chair was reserved for the use of high-ranking officials and religious dignitaries during the Ming dynasty, where simple silhouettes and utilitarian furniture pieces were preferred.
Today, the Yokeback chair can be paired with minimal dining tables for a classic look. While initially made from rich hardwoods, the chair now comes in a variety of modern materials and even metals like iron.
Commonly found in the courtyards of ancient China, drum-shaped garden stools were originally made out of stone, wood, and porcelain, decorated with intricate floral details. Over time, it has become a household staple used both indoors and outdoors as extra seating space or as a coffee table.
The garden stool is well-loved by today’s designers, due to its versatility and beauty. Most modern garden stools feature colorful designs and interesting textures that make stunning statement pieces in any living room.
Lidded jars or ginger jars were major elements in the spice trade between the East and the West, used to store ginger, salt and other herbs. But they were also popular gifts for the Chinese Imperial Court along with beautifully crafted porcelain tableware.
The blue and white color combination can be traced back to the discovery of the cobalt blue pigment, which allowed ceramicists to decorate under the glaze. This gave way to the depiction of auspicious Chinese symbols like peonies, fish, dragons, and scenic landscapes on the jars.
Imperial Guardian Lions
Often miscalled Foo dogs, Imperial Guardian Lions are traditionally found in front of Chinese Imperial Palaces. Carved out of stone, they are considered mythical creatures said to ward off evil spirits.
Guardian lions are often displayed in pairs, one female lion and one male lion. The female lion, placed on the right, is shown with a cub under her paw, while the male lion, on the left, holds a ball under his paw.
While plants are important additions to any home due to their amazing health benefits, the lucky bamboo plays a special role in Chinese culture. Not only is it great for beginner plant owners, as they grow in water, lucky bamboo is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the space.
In Chinese culture, bamboo is associated with longevity and vitality, due to the plant’s ability withstand even the harshest weather conditions. It’s extremely easy to care for, and a great reminder to keep your head up no matter the circumstance.
Which one is your favorite decor piece? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
If you enjoy reading about traditional decor pieces, you might want to check out these tropical Philippine decor pieces perfect for the warmer months. Stay in touch with us by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where we post daily decor inspiration for your home.