Mathilde HK at Liang Yi Museum – Tables and Chairs – The Study of Design and Craftsmanship

Do you like Decorative Arts?

You are keen on visiting private museums in Hong Kong?

You want to discover Chinese Ancient Furniture?


Liang Yi Museum First floor exhibition, November 2014, picture@mathildehk

From September to January, the second exhibition launched by the Liang Yi Museum showcases Ancient Chinese chairs and tables made in precious rose or cherry woods. Among 300 furniture pieces, the visitor can find ritual altar tables, calligraphy tables, kitchen and dining tables, meditation chairs, day chairs, rocking chairs, dating from seventeenth  to nineteenth century. I had the opportunity to visit the Museum  on a private tour given by Bonnie. I was very keen on looking at pieces closer and to be able to identify the different uses of those furniture.


Pith paper painting, Canton, 19th century, picture@liangyimuseum

Those Chinese furniture are very rare and difficult to trace back to their original places. It is a real privilege to be able to touch the lacquered surfaces then.

What did I learned?

Bonnie introduced me to the main altar piece on display at the center of the main exhibition room. She explained to me the stylistic differences between altar and painting tables. As far as Altar pieces are concerned, they show borders on each sides of the top panel, while desks for paintings and calligraphy are completely flat, to be able to unfold a silk panel.


Altar table, XIX th century, picture@liangyimuseum

Bonnie also detailed the main two structures for square tables: some display feet lined up with their massive single-plank top panel,  while some others are supported on thick, similarly beaded ‘pedestals’, that is to say legs framing reticulated panels separated by fixed single stretchers.

As far as the meditation chairs are concerned, they seem to appear in China around the eleventh century, along with the strong influence of Buddhism. Before that, Chinese people would rather sit on trunks or cushions.

During the Ming and the Qing Dynasties, many furniture pieces produced in China would be collected or commissioned by Westerner for their Household. The Museum displays a Cabinet and a set of 4 Dutch-Portuguese chairs dedicated to a foreign market, mixing Asian ornaments, such as bats, with Western forms, such as ‘Secretaire’ or dining table.


Dutch-Portuguese set of 4 chairs produced in China for export, XIX th century, picture@MathildeHK

Topics and Keywords:

Solo: Themes and Topics to focus on in that exhibition

Decorative Arts, Furniture, Chinese Art, Chinese Antics, Table, Chair, Design, hardwoods, rose woods, patina.

Combo: On the same topic:

Christie’s Autumn AuctionsSelling exhibition: 21-24 November 2014
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
26 November 2014

Liang Yi Museum: Tables and Chairs – The Study of Design and Craftsmanship

181 – 199, Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tue – Sat 10:00hrs – 18:00hrs

Starting September 1, 2014
Opening Hours : Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm.
Closed on Sundays, Mondays and Public Holidays.

Admission Fee : 200 HKD

Includes a guided tour, appointments are required. Wednesdays are open free of charge to full-time students with prior arrangement.


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