Antique Chinese Tables
Table from China can be put to numerous uses, such as dining tables, display tables, writing desks or even computer tables. These are really strong in design and capabilities, and can bear huge weights, thanks to the hard elm wood used on them.
Some of the tables that are still used in China are more than three centuries old, highlighting the fact that this piece of furniture is here to stay, and stay for long. This long life of tables and many other Chinese furniture items is attributed to the selection of base wood and finishing lacquer, which provide a good immunity to the wood from harmful insects.
With the advent of high rise chairs and stools, the use of tables came to existence in ancient China. Initially, because the Chinese sat on the floor, on mats and pieces of cloth, the use of chairs and consequently chairs was non-existent.
Chinese tables can be classified into two broad categories, based on the design and pattern of the “legs” of the table. The “cross legged” table had recessed or cross legs, like the ones we see on out ironing stand and the “Zhuo” table has legs protruding out, usually in semi circular or curvaceous manner from the corners of the table.
Console tables and dining tables of the Ming period were designed for convenience. They were, and still are, made of really heavy wood, and therefore, picking them up and moving them was a pain. The designers later on started providing small handles, curved or angled across the legs of the tables at the corners. These handles provided grip for people, and they assisted in making the task of moving these tables a little less painstaking.
Low lying day-bed and coffee tables are usually square, with simple and smooth table tops and highly ornate at the legs, with designs of leaves, landscapes and other natural elements, carved in wood at the legs. The bed table is so called, because of its weight, appearance and the square nature of its design, making it look and feel like a bed instead of a table.
Another type of table, a rather peculiar one is the scroll table. It is called so because of the way the legs of the table are totally curved and the overall appearance of the table signifies a scroll. A scroll table had two, instead of four legs, infact, there is no separation of the legs and table is supported on a long piece of wood at two sides, making it stable on curved “feet”.
Tables can also be modified to have 4-6 drawers in order to provide a multipurpose piece of furniture. Tables can also be made and carved out in various shapes. Experiments with the geometry of the table have begun only in the modern era, when the carpenters in Asia got access to new cutting tools, which can do the job with more precision in less time. Today, you can find tables in circular, semi-circular, hexagonal and pentagonal shapes. These shapes might be given to the top only, or in some cases, would flow down from the table, in an overall design.
The semi-circular tables are usually kept in pairs, sometimes separated from each other, and at times, they are joined together to form a large circular table. Another feature of these tables is the use of embedded brass, used as a design element, to signify perfect amalgamation of different elements of nature to yield a perfect plan- which is the underlying theory of Feng- Shui.