Ming Furniture in the Shanghai Museum

One of the surprises for me in the Shanghai Museum was the collection of Ming hardwood furniture. These pieces date to between 1368 and 1644.

Although some pieces have elaborations and carved decoration the majority of pieces are quite simple and minimal in form and treatment. These two tables are very elegant. The use of simple shapes and braces to stiffen the legs reminded me immediately of the Breuer tables (see previous entry). The ‘giant’s-arm’ braces on the second table really assert their functionality.

Small painting table. Haunghuali wood.

Narrow rectangular table with giant’s-arm braces. Haunghuali wood

A selection of Ming chairs of various shapes. The ones in the background are folding designs. Some of the backs look rather uncomfortable. Again on the whole the fluid lines and simple forms dominate. They remind me more of Hans Wegner than Breuer.

A group of Ming pieces of furniture suitable for a scholar’s study. 1368-1644. Shanghai Museum, July 2014.

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