Item #: A1-1
Name: Fine Carved Luxurious Canopy Crib With Rockers
Circa: Late Qing Dynasty (Late 19th Century)
Wood: Aged Jumu (Southern Elm cut at its old age)
Origin: Jiangsu, China
Dimensions: 40.2” Wx24.6”Dx70.2”H
Condition: Excellent, Museum Quality
Guarantee: 100% authentic original antique
Appraisal: $15,000 Timeless priceless treasure
Price: $12,000 Please require the shipping cost before purchase.
Background and History
Traditional Chinese culture, philosophy, Taoism, Buddhism, decorative art and exceptional craftsmanship all come together in this
Qing Dynasty masterpiece. Judging by the statues of “The Three Stars, Fu (Prosperity), Lu (Rank) and Shou (Longevity) “arranged
on the top panel （福、祿、壽三星高照） of the crib, the first owner -like many Chinese- longed for the blessings. However two of
these blessings indicate how remote in spirit the folk religion is from genuine Taoism in which wealth and rank are two curses of
humanity that followers of the Way seek to avoid! The statue of the venerable Shou, Fairy of Long Life, is very charming and he, at
least, represents a thoroughly Taoist ideal, all the more so if one takes 'long life' to be a synonym for immortality, as it often is.
The tale of three stars Fu Lu Shou in Taoism originates from the Ming Dynasty. The Three Stars are considered auspicious
symbols by Chinese. This is interesting, as these gods are not usually regarded as particularly Taoist in character. However, it is
said that these three universal energies are Fu (Prosperity), Lu (Rank) and Shou (Longevity). The unenlightened tend to think that
they are the energies are external elements rather than internal strength. Ancient Taoists, however, were aware that what appears
to be external inevitably takes its source from the internal. The source of Fu (Prosperity) is the spirit or the head, which is
associated with the energy of Heaven. The source of Lu(Rank) is the mind or the chest. Ancient sophisticate people associated the
chest with the energy that extends itself outwards to other people. This energy is also known as compassion. The source of Shou
or Longevity is the lower abdomen.
This rare canopy crib with rockers undoubtedly belonged to a well connected, wealthy, high-ranking family for this furniture piece
reflects the restrained, elegant tastes of the scholar official and merchant classes. Especially made to ensure the baby's future
success, this elm crib was thoughtfully designed to embody the parents' wishes for their child's future through the medium of
fascinating traditional Chinese patterns. The open carvings incorporate various auspicious animals, fruits, vines and celestial
beings while the embossed panel is rich with historic scenes and fairy tale depictions.
During the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s, the owner then was obliged to sell the crib to a peasant to protect himself
from being persecuted by the government for living a life of luxury. It was collected in Jiangsu Province, Southern China from the
second owner, an old peasant who had kept it at home as a rare treasure for many years. A crib with rockers is normally designed
for practical functions only, but this one with its beautiful canopy and well-carved panel resembles a luxurious marriage bed. We
know that this is a special piece because a normal family in the Qing Dynasty (circa 19thh century) could not afford such an
Philosophy+Design+ Choiceness+Craftsmanship+Culture = Superior and rare masterpiece
This canopy crib is an architectural masterpiece. It is well designed and constructed of selected aged Jumu wood is well-designed
and executed with painstaking attention to its numerous parts and details for Fengshui (harmony). All its panels are carved with
intricate and rich detail. It is not only collectible and valuable because of its age, quality of wood and craftsmanship, but also for its
unique function, culture and background. Each vivid round and deep open carving on the panels tells a beautiful traditional story
associated with Chinese religion, culture, and supernatural beings such as auspicious animals, fairies, flowers, vases and vines
representing the owner's character, life philosophy, strong desires and wishes. The Three Stars (prosperity, rank and longevity) for
the baby and the beauty of superb carving skills and fine original lacquer are the peerless work of a master artist.
Vivid Craftsmanship and Beauty
The superior aged Jumu/Southern Elm with beautiful texture is selected to make this unique crib. Its sculpting and execution
techniques are similar to Ming furniture made of Huanghuali wood. Beautiful, simple lines have been tastefully combined with the
open carvings to highlight elegance and beauty in the same manner as a delicate painting. It has much artistic and historical value.
The entire panel is exquisitely carved in clean simple lines with variations on traditional themes. As for the structural aspects, the
builder expertly combined stability with impressive design. Not only the cradle fully functional, but also it is an elegant and luxurious
work of art, exquisite in its craftsmanship and a beautiful example of lacquer application skills. Round and deep open carving was
applied with visible hierarchy and variable arrangement. The whole panel is open and effective to create an obvious three-
dimensional effect. Seven traditional Chinese auspicious patterns were expertly round and deep open carved on the fanciful
grapevine pattern throughout the entire panel. Each pattern represents an interesting fairy tale or literary quotation taken from
ancient Chinese classical literature. Excellent original lacquer adds even more beauty to the crib making the light and shadow of
the carvings generate the third dimension of the stunning carvings. The original lacquer is still intact, only the rockers at the base
are bare through standing on the humid ground for more than a century, or perhaps from the rocking by a loving mother's foot which
adds the human element to its centuries-old use as a functional cradle.
Culture and History: Traditional Chinese Auspicious Patterns:
Pattern 1: Three Stars of Prosperity, Rank and Longevity
The whole panel composes of all kinds of motifs like stars and supernatural beings, animals in the flower and grass, human with
animals, harmony with nature to produce good Fengshui.
On the horizontal top panel are shown the statues of celestial beings, the Three Stars (Fu, Lu, Shoul) from center, right to left with
the presentation of the main theme of the whole carving piece Prosperity, Rank and Longevity. The Fu Star stands in the center
showing his important position. Fu-Lu-Shou is believed to be the three lucky stars in the heaven. It is the symbol of prosperity,
success and longevity.
Fu is the Star of Prosperity, expressing the wish of being- as happy as the Eastern Sea.
Lu is the Star God of High Position, Handsome Salary and Send a Child to the Earth;
Shou is the Star of Health and Longevity, wishing one may live as long as the Southern Mountain. He is recognized by his large
head and holds a peach in one hand and a cane in the other hand, which is a symbol of a healthy and long life.
On both vertical panels, viewed from top to bottom and from right to left, most of carvings were made symmetrically open and
carved on both sides of each panel.
Pattern 2: Squirrel and Grapes
On the top right/left hand, the four Squirrel pattern indicates the wish to squirrel away money for prosperity. In Chinese, the Grape
sounds like a Tree of Buddha which is a central image in the heart of Buddhism to represent many children. The Grape pattern
which echoes the symbol of the Three Stars (Fu Lu Shou) indicates having many children and attracting good luck.
Pattern 3: Two Supernatural Beings
The patterns Two Supernatural Beings use their magical power to protect children from evil or misfortune, thereby bringing peace
to a child.
Pattern 4: Crane and Deer
In the middle of the panel on the right hand is the Crane pattern, symmetrically on the left hand is the Deer pattern. In legend, the
crane is a symbol of longevity, the deer has same pronunciation as the Chinese word for ‘Lu’ (Rank). Chinese believe that the deer
is a bringer of good career prospect.
Pattern 5: Happy Lion Playing With Ball
Two happy lions playing with ball shown on both sides of the vertical panels represent happy playful children.
Pattern 6: Two lions Chasing Ball
On both sides of the bottom panel, the light relief Two Lions Chasing Ball is a FengShui auspicious object for the children. The lion
is a symbol of Chinese auspicious culture, a sign of good luck derived from ancient tradition; also a symbol of power and authority.
Here it represents the parents’ love for children, wishing their children have much fun like the lions and are as vivacious and happy
as the lions.
Pattern 7: Vases with Flowers (Peace, Riches and Honor)
On both sides of the lower part of this crib, the pattern Vase sounds the Chinese word for Peace. Flower for Riches and Honor.
The canopy, with its delicate, simple spindle rails, functioned not only as a beautiful decoration but supported a mosquito net as
well. The matching side rails around the bed itself protected the baby from falling out. It is easily convertible to switch from winter
bedding to summer bedding. In the chest of the crib, a copper bed warmer could be placed under the mattress to keep the baby
cozy in winter. A bed pad, a mat can be put on the removable top board of the chest to keep baby cool in summer. Baby could be
lulled to sleep by rocking the warm little crib.
Seen as a whole, on one hand, the various interesting Chinese culture motifs convey a sense of the most splendid parts of
traditional Chinese culture, parents’ philosophy and love for child, on the other hand, the shape, design and craftsmanship of the
child bed are incomparable, comprised of clear but complicated open carvings, conveying a sense of magnificence and dignity. It is
typical of Qing style furniture.
You can see any kinds of adult beds including canopy bed except for such a rare exquisite carved luxurious child bed in China
museums or any market. It is a blank in museum. It’s rare timeless treasure and collectible for small size of child canopy bed for
museum and collectors. Great potential added value!