Six-Post Canopy Bed, early 17th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

Huanghuali hardwoodexpand_more

Gift of Ruth and Bruce Daytonexpand_more  96.11.1a-ee

The canopy bed was one of the most important pieces of furniture in a Chinese household. It was generally ornamented with symbols associated with a long and happy marriage. Here, the railings are decorated with heart-shaped ruyi (the mythical wish-fulfilling symbol) set against a pattern of the Buddhist swastika signifying “ten thousand,” which granted the owner the fulfillment of ten thousand wishes. Curtains were hung inside the canopy which, when closed, created a private room within a room. With curtains drawn back, canopied beds were used as formal couches from which the woman of the house held audience and conducted business. With the addition of low tables, canopy beds could be used for playing board games, informal dining, or drinking tea with guests.

Six-Post Canopy Bed
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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