folding chair with woven seat; inlaid iron decorations on arms and footrest; carved open-mouthed animals where arms attach to seat

Folding round-back armchair, late 16th century

Unknown artist, expand_more
G217expand_more

Considered by many to be one of the most elegant designs created by Chinese cabinet makers, the round-back folding armchair is a unique combination of utility and ceremonial grandeur. This large, harmoniously proportioned chair is an exact mate to one now owned by the Shanghai Museum. It retains its original patina, decorative carving, and most of its iron fittings, which are inlaid with a scrolling lotus design. An openwork iron plaque bearing auspicious Buddhist “treasure” emblems is attached to the footrest with iron bosses. Both comfortable and portable, folding chairs like this were reserved for persons of high rank. In paintings, they are often depicted in front of solid screens, the seat of honor from which to greet important guests at formal gatherings.

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Details
Title
Folding round-back armchair
Role
Artist
Accession Number
98.80.3
Curator Approved

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folding chair with woven seat; inlaid iron decorations on arms and footrest; carved open-mouthed animals where arms attach to seat