Monday, March 12, 2012

Books on Asian Antique Furniture

These are some selected titles on Asian antique and classic furniture:

Javanese Antique Furniture and Folk Art: The David B. Smith and James Tirtoprodjo Collections by Bruce Carpenter. Quirky, enigmatic and uniquely beautiful, the art and furnishings of Central and East Java's villages and palaces are little known to the art historians, museum curators and collectors of the world. Armed with all the charm and characteristics of folk art - bright, bold colours; na?ve forms and compositions; flattened perspective; anonymous origins; functionality; humour and social commentary - it is the product of a complex and ancient culture renowned for its ability to pick and choose from outside influences without impairing the integrity of the original. Javanese Antique Furniture and Folk Art celebrates this delightful art form with more than 300 colour photographs, while insights from experts reveal the history and fascinating culture embodied in one of the world's most impressive collections of Javanese art.

Chinese Classical Furniture: The Complete Illustrated Guide for Collectors by Hu Desheng and Song Yongji. The Chinese have crafted furniture in the same manner for at leat 2000 years. The hallmark of the classical pieces prized by collectors is a clean, functional style that leaves a blank slate for ornamentation, which can take the form of relief carvings, fretwork, and lacquered painting. In this volume, the study of Chinese classical furniture is divided into five major sections, each exploring: Different types of structure and joints; decorative techniques; motifs, material; and furniture by use or function. This survey is aided by colour photographs on every page and further enhanced by the inclusion of substantial appendices offering an extensive glossary bilingual in English and Chinese; an illustrated table which summarises distinguishing features of furniture by historical period (before 771 BC to 1949); and a record of notable auctions that have taken place in the last decade and the settled prices.

Straits Chinese Furniture: A Collector's Guide by Ho Wing Meng. One hundred colour photographs enrich this account of the fusion of Chinese Qing dynasty furniture with that of early 19th century British styles which together formed the ornate and highly usable furniture of the Straits Chinese, also known as the Peranakans. Includes pointers to dating, glossary and bibliography.

Essence of Style: Chinese Furniture of the Late Ming and Early Qing Dynasties by Robert Hatfield Ellsworth. Essence of Style showcases 44 superb examples of Chinese furniture created between the sixteenth and mid-eighteenth centuries. Made of rare hardwoods or lacquered softwoods, crafted as elegant forms with solid structure but simple lines, this selection emphasises the aesthetic and technical concerns reflected in Ming and Qing decorative arts. With bibliography.

Asian Furniture: A Directory and Sourcebook edited by Peter Moss. This major volume will serve as a sourcebook and directory of pre-contemporary Asian furniture. After the 14th century the mingling of European and Asian ideas led to the development of hybrid styles of domestic furnishing. The distinctive trends and characteristics of furniture favoured in eight Asian countries (India, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Tibet, the Philippines, Korea, and Japan) are discussed by specialists. Fine photography presents articles and examples from collections and owners throughout the world. With short articles on woods and on tools, 450 colour illustrations and index.

Wooden Wonders: Tibetan Furniture in Secular and Religious Life by David Kamansky. This is a catalogue of an exhibition which opened in Nov 2004 at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California. This catalogue does not merely follow the genre's traditional format but seeks to communicate both the aesthetic significance of these exceptional works of art and the important role they have played over the centuries in the daily and spiritual lives of the people of Tibet. The works in the exhibition therefore were selected both for their aesthetic and historical importance, and most are being publicly displayed for the first time. All are lavishly illustrated in colour, and each is accompanied by details of type, date, dimensions and description of decoration and materials.


  1. Sometimes I stumble upon a blog post that perfectly answers a question that brought me to perform a search in the first place - your post is a good example of such a happy encounter. Thanks! :-)
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  2. Asian furniture is most definitely an incredibly significant area of study, considering the development of their society so early in terms of human development. You can see the evolution and elaboration of ideas in progress and designs that would seem outlandish. All in all it could be one of the most interesting furniture histories in the developed world.

  3. i m interested Asian Antique Furnitures and i have a website about furniture how i find this books and how muc they cost for me im in turkey

  4. Thank you for your comment. You may purchase the books by clicking through the links to our online bookstore (

    We ship all around the world.