Yokeback Armchair, one of a pair, c. 1600

Unknown artist, expand_more

Huang-hua-li hardwoodexpand_more

Gift of Ruth and Bruce Daytonexpand_more  97.26.2.1

G218expand_more

Stately and dignified, the yokeback armchair is one of the most enduring and classic forms of Chinese furniture. Among the tallest recorded yokeback armchairs, this pair demonstrates excellent proportions and exceptionally dynamic and vigorous lines. Tall armchairs were reserved for family elders, high ranking guests, and the most important members of a household. They were commonly used in formal gatherings. In spite of their apparent rigidity, well-made yokeback chairs were ergonomically sound with rounded armrests, flexible seating, and a contoured back splat shaped to support the spine with relative comfort. Tall armchairs were often used with separate footrests, elevating the feet from the floor and emphasizing the status of the sitter. Huang-hua-li hardwood was too dense to bend, so every curved member of these chair frames had to be carved to the desired shape from ample pieces of timber. Since there are no straight components above the seats, the cost of making these chairs would have been considerable. Deceptively simple, these beautifully articulated sculptural designs fulfill their primary purpose of providing comfort and support to the sitter.

Details
Title
Yokeback Armchair, one of a pair
Role
Artist
Accession Number
97.26.2.1
Curator Approved

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