The development of ancient Chinese chairs can be summarized in four succinct words: from low to high. In the early days, the ancients all sat on the floor, and it was not until the appearance of chairs that they changed their daily habits.
The name "chair" first appeared in the Tang Dynasty, and the image of the chair dates back to the "Hu Bed" introduced to the north during the Han and Wei Dynasties. The so-called "Hu bed" is not a bed "bed" in the later sense, but a seat shaped like a Mazza. Song Dynasty Gao Cheng's "Shi Yuan Ji Yuan" quoted "Fun Su Tong" as saying: "The Han Ling emperor is good at Hufu, and the Jingshi makes Hu bed. Also in the Book of the Later Han Dynasty: The First of the Five Elements: "The Emperor of the Han Dynasty Had Hufu, Hu Zhang, Hu Bed, Hu Sitting, Hu Fan..., all the nobles and relatives in Kyoto competed for it." These two records can prove that in ancient my country. The appearance of the chair was at the time of the Han Ling Emperor (168-189 AD).
Due to its morphological characteristics, the Hu bed is also known as the "cross bed" and "rope bed". It was widely used from the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties to the Sui and Tang Dynasties. Follow the left and right for temporary rest. Hu Bed was a high-grade variety in the furniture category at that time, and usually only the male owner or distinguished guest was eligible to enjoy it.
Hu Chuang did not have a backrest at the beginning, and there was a backrest in the Tang Dynasty. Tao Gu's "Qing Yi Lu" of the Song Dynasty said: "According to legend, the Ming emperor traveled frequently and was driven by his ministers, and he had no way to rest. He was so creative. At that time, it was called'Happy Sitting'." This kind of "Happy Sitting" is very likely. It's a Hu bed with a backrest. The Hu bed with the backrest is closer to the chair called by future generations. The Tang Dynasty "Jidu Temple Beihai Altar Sacrificial Vessels and Miscellaneous Inscriptions·Stele Yin" recorded: "Ten rope beds, four chairs inside." From this record, we can see that the name of the chair was already in the first year of Zhenyuan in the Tang Dynasty. It was also after the Tang Dynasty that the use of chairs gradually increased, and the names of chairs began to be widely used.
From the Five Dynasties to the Song Dynasty, high-profile seating was unprecedentedly popular, and the form of chairs also increased, with back chairs, armchairs, armchairs, etc. appearing. At the same time, the shape, material and function of the chair are also different according to the different levels of inferiority and inferiority. Among them, the only "Taishi Chair" named after an official position appeared during the Song Dynasty.
The use of tall furniture has become a fashion in the folks, and high tables and chairs are necessary for homes, which can also be seen in the paintings of the time. For example, the small shops in Zhang Zeduan's "Shanghe on the Qingming Festival" in the Song Dynasty display all kinds of high-end furniture; the armchair depicted in the Song Dynasty Li Gonglin's "Huichang Jiulao Tu" is also of no variety in the previous generation. In addition, the "top chairs" were popular in the Song Dynasty, and their grades were higher than other chairs. Households with a little status had purchases for their owners and distinguished guests.
During the Ming and Qing dynasties, Chinese-style high-style furniture developed to its heyday, forming the unique artistic style of oriental furniture.
The Ming Dynasty was a period of great prosperity for my country's classical furniture. Until now, Ming-style furniture is still the most distinctive traditional furniture of the Han nationality. In the mid-Ming Dynasty, the aesthetic concept of simplicity and simplicity has become more and more popular, and people admire the simple, elegant and noble furniture style. With the improvement of the overall level of furniture production, the chair has become more sophisticated. On the basis of inheriting the style of Song and Yuan Dynasties, the pursuit of this fashion has begun, and has gradually formed a distinct "Ming-style feature". At the same time, the direct participation and indirect guidance of the literati in furniture design further improved the production level and artistic connotation of the chair. For example, the calligrapher Wen Zhengming engraved the inscription on the back of the chair: "The door is not peeled, the pine shadow is jagged, the sound of birds is up and down, the bitter tea is sipped, the pen is between the windows, and the crosses are counted according to the size. Watch it."
In the Qing Dynasty, the chair further developed. The ancient, elegant, concise, and lively Ming-style style in furniture design has gradually been replaced by Qing-style fashion that emphasizes decoration and light functions. Chairs have also entered the Qing-style period. At the same time, the range of chairs used has expanded rapidly, with an unprecedented increase in types. There are ladies chairs in the interior, children's chairs in the interior, cashbox chairs in the store, and toilet chairs in the emergency. Chairs have penetrated into every corner of social life.
In summary, the Ming and Qing chairs experienced two heydays: the former is a classic era that presents the advantages and qualities of simplicity, refinement, elegance, comfort, and lightness. It is an era treasured by the world as Ming-style furniture. The style has gone through a long period of more than three hundred years from the Ming Dynasty to the early Qing Dynasty from its formation to maturity; the latter is a heavy, solemn, and magnificent style period after the late Qianlong period, which is a new style and fashion after the society entered another prosperous period. , But the good times did not last long. From the late Qianlong period to the Tongguang period, it formed and declined rapidly in the past 100 years. The Ming-style chair embodies the beauty of literati and officialdom, while the Qing-style chair embodies a wider range of folk customs.