This Dover edition, first published in 1962, is an unabridged and unaltered republication of the work first published by Harper and Brothers in 1948.
The supply of beautiful objects from China sometimes seems inexhaustible. From the middle ages to the present, silks, ceramics and porcelain, metalwork, prints, and architectural decoration have come to the West, and have been often created whole Western schools of imitations. All of these things, however, have come from the public art of China, and strangely enough, those arts that are concentrated in the private home, like domestic furniture, are still almost unknown in the West, even though they are often surpassingly beautiful and quite different in their simplicity from the elaborate work that we usually think of as Chinese. Until Mr. Kates, formerly of the Brooklyn Museum, prepared this book after seven years of residence in Peking, there was no book-length study of Chinese domestic furniture in any Western language. This publication summarises practically everything that is know about authentic Chinese furniture before it became vitiated by Western influences and almost driven out of existence by debased imitations of Western furniture. Drawing upon scantly Chinese historical sources and surviving pieces of furniture in private collections and museums, Mr. Kates covers the history of styles, the various unusual woods that were used, craftsmanship, principles of design, furniture arrangement, and specific forms like cupboards, wardrobes, dressers, tables, desks, small tables, beds, stools, chairs, chests and boxes and other pieces, Lacquered, work, tourism trade material, export material, and impure styles have been omitted; only authentic material is discussed. 112 photographs (each with full analytical text) illustrate typical pieces. This book will open new areas to every interior decorator, furniture designer, craftsman interested in furniture, and student of fine living arrangements. It will reveal a new dimension of simple but remarkably beautiful work that fits well into either traditional or modern settings.
Published by Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1962
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