Chinese Antique Furniture Glossary

Apron: A skirt of wood running between the legs of a chair or cabinet.

Cabriole leg: A leg that is curved in an ogee shape.

Caning: Weaving with split rattan or bamboo fiber for seats or beds of Chinese antique furniture.

Carcass: The main body or understructure of a piece of furniture, onto which a veneer or other
covering is laid.

Case furniture: Furniture — cabinets, chests and cupboards — made for storing objects.

Chinoiserie: Western decorative imitations of Asian designs found mainly in the 17th and 18th

Chinese lattice or fretwork: A type of openwork pattern originating in Chinese art of Chinese antique

Dowel: A wooden peg used to hold early mortise-and-tenon joints in place.

Frieze: A horizontal ornamental strip.

Feng Shui: Chinese practice of arranging elements to achieve the greatest harmony and balance .

Gilding: Coatng of gold leaf or gold dust.

Grain: A pattern that is formed in wood by its fibers.

Hardwood: Timber from any tree that is not a conifer; wood known for its strength and durability.

Style of table or chair leg that resembles the hoof of a horse of Chinese antique furniture.

Inlay: Decorative design set into the surface of a piece of furniture.

  • mitre : a corner joint in which two pieces of wood are cut so that when joined they form a right
    angle before being nailed or glued in place.

  • Mortise-and-tenon : a joint formed by hollowing out a hole (mortise) in one piece of wood and
    inserting a second, projecting piece (tenon); sometimes glued or held in place with a dowel.

  • Dovetail : a refinement of the mortise-and-tenon joint; a right-angled joint secured by
    interlocking, fan-shaped tenons.

Joinery: Constructed with dovetail or other joints instead of nails of Chinese antique furniture.

Lacquer: Asian varnish made from tree gum. Red or black coating that imparts a high gloss to
surfaces of Chinese antique furniture.

Low -relief engraving:
Decoration made by carving away the surrounding wood of Chinese antique furniture.

Marquetry: Use of veneer and other wooden inlays to make decorative patterns featuring naturalistic

Motif: A distinctive feature or theme in a composition.

Mount: A decorative fitting attached to furniture (often of metal, ormolu or ceramic).

Mortise and tenon structure: A type of joinery which connects furniture components with an extended
tongue (tenon) fitted precisely into a cutout (mortise) of Chinese antique furniture.

Molding: Decorative pieces of wood, often carved, attached by joinery to the joints of a piece of
Chinese antique furniture.

Patina: Surface texture of furniture that develops with age.

Plain hardwood: Furniture made of woods such as Hua li, which are waxed but left unlacquered of
Chinese antique furniture.

Rail: A horizontal bar running between the legs or uprights of a piece.

Softwood: Timber of coniferous trees; wood that is easy to cut.

Spandrel: Corner support between top or seat and legs of Chinese antique furniture.

Splat: The central upright of a chair back.

Stretcher: The horizontal bar joining and stabilizing the legs of a chair or table. Supports between
legs of chairs, tables or benches - shape is straight or Humpback  of Chinese antique furniture.

Veneer: Thin sheets of wood laid on top of a piece's carcass for decorative purposes.

Waisted: The indentation just below the top of a table, stool or bench of Chinese antique furniture

Chinese antique furniture glossary-A
矮老: Pillar-shaped strut.
矮面盆架: Washbasin stand.
矮桌展腿式: Low table with extended legs. Low waisted table which is transformed into a
high table by adding round extensions to the square legs.
案: Recessed-leg table.
暗抽屉: Hidden drawers, opened by raising from underneath rather than with a pull
凹面: Concave moulding

Chinese antique furniture glossary-B
拔步床: Alcove [5AlkEJv] bedstead.
百宝嵌: One-hundred- precious-material inlay.
半槽地: Half-and-half relief. The most common type of relief carving with relief and
ground occupying about the same amount of space.
半桌: Half table, slightly larger than half an eight Immortals [9ImR:`tel] table.
抱鼓: Embracing drums. The drum-shaped elements at the top of a shoe-foot used to hold the
spandrels of screens,clothes racks and lampstands in position.
抱肩榫: Embracing-shoulder tenon. A mitred joint used in waisted furniture of the corner-
leg construc-tion to attach the leg and apron. A concealed triangular-shaped tenon in the
apron fits into a mortise in the leg. Simultaneously a concealed long and vertical
dovetailed tenon slides into a mortise in the apron.
宝塔纹: Pagoda pattern. Term used in Suzhou to describe the natural grain of beech.
包镶: Complete veneer, a hardwood veneer covering the entire piece of furniture.
宝座: Throne, for emperor or god.
宝座式镜台: Throne-type mirror platform.
霸王枨: Giant's arm brace, extending from the leg to the underside of the table top at a
45° angle.
八仙桌: Eight Immortals table. Square table suitable for seating eight people.
边簧: Tongue, on four sides of the floating panel of a table top.
边框: Frame.
边抹: Square or rectangular frame, consisting of two sides with tenons and two sides with
mortises (.榫眼matou).
鳔胶: Fish glue, the best cabinetmaker's glue made from the air bladder of the yellow
croaker fish. 冰盘沿: Ice-plate edge. General term for allinward-sloping mouldings.
波纹: Wave lattice. Term found in Yuan ye (The Art of the Garden) and also used for
步步高 赶枨: Stepped chair stretchers. Chair stretchers which are arranged with the front
one lowest, the side ones higher, and the back one highest, so that the joints do not

Chinese antique furniture glossary-C
踩: Lowering the surface of the wood. General term popular among craftsmen.
草龙: Curling limbed dragon. Stylized dragon pattern in which the legs and tail turn into
curls, derived from the curling tendril design.
侧脚: Splayed legs. Term borrowed from ancient architecture (where it describes the splay
of pillars at the base) to describe the slight splay of furniture legs at their base.
茶几: Tea table. High table derived from the Ming incense table and popular in Qing times.
插肩榫: Inserted shoulder joint. One of the essential joints of the recessed-leg
construction. The upper part of the leg is split to form two tenoned pieces; the front one
is made shoulder-like so that it can be inserted into cavities in the apron. When the
joint is in place the surfaces of leg and apron are flush.
铲地浮雕: Relief carving on smoothed ground.
长凳: Long bench, general term.
长方凳: Rectangular stool.
缠枝莲纹: Scrolling lotus design.
朝衣柜: Court costume cabinet. Compound wardrobe in four parts with side panels. A kind of
sijiangui with panels between the doors and outer frames which make the wardrobe wide
enough for court costumes to be placed inside without being folded.
插屏式座屏风: Removable-panel screen set in a stand, the panel having tongues which can be
slid in and out of grooves in the vertical pillars.
枨子: Stretcher. Member used mainly to connect two legs.
螭虎闹灵芝: Hornless dragons inter-twined with Iingzhi fungus.
螭纹: Stylized hornless dragon design.
抽屉架: Drawer frame, put inside a cabinet or shelf to hold the drawers.
抽屉脸: Front of a drawer.
抽屉桌: Narrow table with drawers.
橱: Cabinet, southern term for gui, which is more current in the north.
穿带: Penetrating transverse brace, which fits into a groove in the floating panel.
床: Bed, which in China is used for daytime sitting as well as sleeping. General term for
both large and small beds.
床围子: Railing on Luohan and canopy bed.
床衣镜: Full-length mirror, a type derived from a screen set into a base which became
popular during he Qing dynasty.
春凳: Large bench. In south China the term refers to a bench for two or more people.
Northerners use this term only for a bench for more than two people.
攒: To join.
攒斗: Latticework. Literally joining the straight and assembling the curved, two methods
of making lattice. General term which is a contraction of cuanjie and doucu.
攒牙子: Apron or apron and spandrel made by joining the straight.
攒边打槽装板: Assembling a mortised-and-tenoned frame with floating panel. This is done by
first making a groove all around the inner edge of the frame and then inserting the tongue
of the panel.
攒边装板围子: Railing of a Luohan bed consisting of frames with inset panels.
攒接: Joining the straight. Term used for the method of making a lattice from short
straight pieces of wood, placed vertically, horizontally, and sometimes diagonally, and
mortised and tenoned together. The resulting lattice may have square or rounded corners.
攒接围子: Bed railing made by joining the straight.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-D
搭板书案: Board and stand desk, consisting of a top resting on two separate stands with
drawers which originally were not intended to be used apart from the table.
大边: Tenon-bearing frame member. If the frame is rectangular the term refers to the two
long pieces with tenons; if square, it indicates the two tenon-bearing members; if round,
each piece is called a dabian.
大方扛箱: Large square box carried on a pole. Term used in Lu Ban jing (Lu Ban's Classic)
for a large picnic box.
带: Transverse brace, which always connects the tenon-bearing frame members. General term
which includes the penetrating transverse brace and the curved transverse brace.
带口: Dovetailed groove for the penetrating trans-verse brace on the back of a floating
大理石: Marble, and in particular Dali marble, from Mount Diancang点苍 in the Dali
District of Yunnan Province.
搭脑: Top rail. Highest rail on the back of a chair. The term also refers to the highest
horizontal member of any frame, such as a clothes rack or towel rack.
挡板: Inset panel on a recessed-leg table with side panels. It usually has openwork
carving finished on both sides and sits on a side floor stretcher or base stretchers.
倒棱: Rounding the edges. Procedure done to soften the sharp edges of a member.
打洼: Concave moulding; also called aomian or wamian.
大叶榆: Large leaf elm, a kind of ju wood; also called juyu.
凳: Stool. Also wudeng.
灯草线: Beading, a rounded moulding.
Dengcao 灯草: are rushes used as lampwicks.
灯挂椅: Lamp-hanger chair. Side chair with a high narrow basic, resembling the bamboo lamp
hangers commonly used in south China.
雕刻: Carving.
吊牌: Metal pull.
吊头: Protruding end. The part of the top of recessed-leg table which extends beyond the
leg towards the sides.
地枨: Lowest stretcher on a cabinet.
顶箱: Upper part of a compound wardrobe in four parts.
顶箱立柜: Compound wardrobe in four parts, consisting of two lower cabinets and two upper
cabinets; also called sijiangui.
地平 : Platform. Large low wooden platform, usually square, placed in a room to hold
furniture. When used for an alcove bed it is slightly larger than the bed. Very large ones
are for a screen and throne.
斗: Assembly of more than two members.
斗柏楠: Burl of nan wood; also toubainan, the term used in Gegu yaolun (The Essential
Criteria of Antiquities).
斗簇: Assembling the curved, a term for the method of making a lattice unit from large or
small curved pieces of wood joined together by loose tenons.
斗簇围子: Luohan bed railing lattice made by assembling the curved; or Luohan bed railing
lattice made by assembling the curved together with joining the straight.
斗拱式: Bracket model, a type of spandrel inspired by architectural members.
断纹: Crack patterns, the fortuitous designs formed of small cracks on the surface of aged
独板面: Solid board top, found most often on narrow rectangular tables with recessed legs,
trestle tables, and benches whose top is not made with a frame.
独板围子: Solid board railing.
都承盘 或 都丞盘 或 都盛盘 或都珍盘: Desk tray or desk treasure tray, for holding the
treasures (the paraphernalia used in calligraphy and painting) on a scholar's desk.
墩子: Shoe-foot. Horizontal, usually bridge-shaped, piece of wood supporting a vertical
member of a screen, clothes rack or lampstand. It tends to be large and includes the
embracing drum.
垛边: Frame-thickening inserts. Separate pieces of wood added, mainly for aesthetic
reasons, beneath the four sides of a frame of a table top in order to increase its height.
They are commonly found on tables and stools, often on the type with leg-encircling
stretcher, or with three spandrels to one leg, and a humpbacked stretcher. The inserts are
less deep than the frame members and thus give the illusion of a thick frame without
having its weight.
朵云双螭纹: Cloud surrounded by confronting dragons motif.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-E
鹅脖: Gooseneck front posts. Curved posts of an armchair which are often made from the
same piece of wood as the front legs.
二人凳: Two-seater bench.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-F
方凳: Square stool.
方角柜: Square-corner cabinet. Usually a metal hinged cabinet with very little or no
splay, and in which each of the four corners forms a right angle.
方桌: Square table. Term refers to tables of various sizes.
风车式: Windmill lattice. Patterned on the shape of the windmill motif used in Chinese
paper toys.
分心花: Dividing-the-heart motif, the cusp in the middle of an apron.
浮雕: Relief carving.
浮雕透雕结合: Relief and openwork carving. Term used when both types of decoration occur
in a single piece.
扶手: Arms of a chair.
扶手椅: Armchair.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-G
盖面: Convex surface or moulding. Term used in Yingzao fashi (Building Standards) and by
cabinetmakers today; also called hunmian and tumian.
赶枨: Changing the level of stretchers, in order to spread out the mortises. The term
usually refers to the lower stretchers of chairs.
甘蔗床: Sugar-cane squeezer.
高拱罗锅枨: High humpbacked stretcher. Stretcher which often appears on the type of table
with three spandrels to one leg and on rectangular tables with recessed legs.
高面盆架: Washbasin stand with towel rack. The two back legs are extended to form the
towel rack.
高束腰: High waist. On some examples the influence of a Buddhist pedestal is still
高桌: High table.
格肩: Mitre; single or double.
格肩榫: Double-mitred tenon.
供案: Recessed-leg altar table.
供桌: Corner-leg altar table.
勾挂垫榫: Hook-and-plug tenon joint, used to attach a giant's arm brace to the leg. The
slightly hooked tenon is secured in the mortise by a small block of wood placed beneath it.
瓜棱线: Melon-shaped moulding, a ridge-shaped moulding used on legs. (When the leg is seen
in section, it resembles the section of a fluted melon.) It is often found on waistless
square tables and round-corner cabinets. Also called甜瓜棱.
管脚枨: Base stretcher, a bar placed just above the feet of a piece of furniture to hold
the legs in position.
官帽椅: Official's hat armchair. Term includes the official's hat armchair with four
protruding ends and the southern official's hat armchair. See also nanguanmaoyi.
官皮箱: Leather Trunk or dressing case, usually having a base with drawers, which are
often behind doors, and a top consisting of a lidded tray.
挂销: Hanger tenon. Dovetail-shaped tenon on the top of a leg on which to hang the apron,
usually as long as the apron.
挂牙: Hanging spandrel. Spandrel whose length is greater than its width, and which narrows
towards its lower edge.
挂檐: Canopy lattice, around the top of a canopy bed.
鼓钉: Bosses, the nail motifs on a drum stool.
鼓墩: Drum stool; also called zuodun.
柜: Cabinet, northern term for chu, which is more current in the south.
柜帮: Side of a cabinet. Craftsmen's term.
柜帽: Cabinet's cap, the top of a round-corner cabinet which protrudes beyond the side
posts to allow for the wood hinged construction and which usually has rounded edges.
鬼面: Ghost face. Term used in《格古要论》 Gegu yaolun (The Essential Criteria of
Antiquities) to describe a particular formation in the grain of huanghuali wood.
柜塞: One-drawer coffer, literally the plug between two cabinets, because the coffer is
often placed between a pair of cabinets or compound wardrobes in four parts.
柜膛: Ridden compartment, occupying the space below the door and above the bottom board of
a cabinet.
滚凳: Roller stool. Stool with movable rollers, used to exercise the feet.
裹腿枨: Leg-encircling stretcher. Stretcher continuing around the entire circumference of
a piece, passing over the outside edges of the legs.
裹腿做: Leg-encircling.
鼓腿: Bulging leg.
鼓腿彭牙 Convex apron and bulging leg ending in a horse-hoof foot. Term used by Beijing
cabinetmakers and in the Qing Regulations.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-H
海南檀: Daltergia hainanensis, scented rosewood, the scientific name previously given to
huanghuali wood, in redish brown and yellowish brown color.
海棠式: Begonia-shaped.
耗子尾: Upward-tapering member, such as the side posts of an armchair.
横枨: Side stretcher, on rectangular tables.
横拐子: Short horizontal members on the base of a washbasin stand.
合页: Metal hinge.
荷叶托: Lotus-leaf support, often occurring on mirror stands.
红木:Hong wood. There are two kinds: old hong wood was the principal hardwood used by
furniture makers from mid Qing times to the first quarter of the 20th century, and new
hong wood is one of the main hardwoods used by furniture factories today.
画案: Recessed-leg painting table. Large, wide rectangular table without drawers.
花梨: Huali wood, Ormosia henryi. One of the main hardwoods used for furniture after the
mid Qing dynasty.
花榈: Huali wood. Pre-Ming way of writing the term which at that time referred mainly to
huanghuali wood.
黄花梨: Huanghuali wood, Dalbergia odorifera, the principal hardwood used for furniture
from mid Ming until the first part of the Qing dynasty.
黄杨: Boxwood, Buxus microphylia, a dense yellowish wood.
画桌: Corner-leg painting table, a large, wide rectangular table without drawers.
胡床: Barbarian seat. Earliest name for a cross-legged stool. It was imported from the
west in the Eastern Han and is the ancestor of the folding stool and the folding armchair.
回纹: Angular spirals, based on a motif resembling the archaic form of the character hui ,
repeated continuously.
混面: Convex surface or moulding. Term used in Yingzao fashi (Building Standards) and by
cabinetmakers today. Also called gaimian and tumian.
活销: Loose tenon.
护眼线: Hole-protecting coin, a round coin-shaped metal disc used between the metal pivot
and the surface of a piece of furniture as a protective device against abrasion.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-J
几: Narrow waistless table, each side of which usually consists of a board meeting the top
at right angles.
嫁底: Trousseau coffer, a common name for a coffer since a bride's trousseau was placed in
it, tied with red strings, and carried to her new home.
架格: Shelf; also屉板.
架几案: Trestle table. Long table supported by two separate stands.
架几书案: Wide trestle writing table on stands with drawers.
降香黄檀: Huanghuali wood, Dalbergia odorifera, new name given by Cheng Junqing.
降真香: Truth-bringing incense. A type of incense with which huanghuali wood is often
compared in old texts.
剑脊棱: Sword-ridge moulding. Moulding which slopes downwards from a central ridge. Lu Ban
jing (Lu Ban's Classic) calls it jianjixian. 剑脊线
践金: Gold designs hammered into iron.
践银: Silver designs hammered into iron.
脚床: Footstool. Song dynasty name for the footstool in front of chairs and beds. Also
jiaota and tachuang.
交圈: Continuous flow. The continuous connec-tion (upwards, downwards, sideways) of
mouldings or the surfaces of different members in order to give the piece of furniture a
unified appearance. This term is also used by architects and other craftsmen, especially
for four-sided and curved forms.
脚踏: Footstool. Also jiaochuang and tachuang.
交杌: Folding stool; most commonly mazha.
角牙: Spandrel.
交椅: Folding chair.
假三上: Pseudo thrice attached. See zhenliangshang.
夹头榫: Elongated bridle joint. This and the inserted shoulder joint are the two basic
joints of the recessed-leg construction. The top of the leg has tenons, fitting into
mortises in the tenon-bearing frame of the top, and a slot, into which the apron and apron-
head spandrel can be inserted. Sometimes there are false elongated bridlejoints, with the
outward appearance of an elongated bridle joint but constructed in other ways.
架子床: Canopy bed.
: ichi wood. Hardwood with purplish-brown patterns, belonging to the Ormosia family.
jichimu: Chicken-wing wood, another name for jichi wood
接桌: Extension table. When one Eight Immortals table is not enough, a table slightly
larger than half its size, similar to a half table, is added to extend it.
锦地浮雕: Relief carving on diaper ground.
镜架: Mirror stand.
镜台: Mirror platform.
镜箱: Mirror box.
井字棂格: Well lattice. Lattice of a design centred around the character jing井 (well),
and its variations.
金属饰件: Metalwork ornaments.
几腿架格: Shelf supported by two separate stands.
臼窝: Door pivot mortise.
酒桌: Wine table. Small rectangular table used for wine and food.
吉祥草: Lucky grass. Leaves forming a round motif which is often found on a decorative
卷草纹: Curling tendril design.
卷书: Scroll termination. Termination which appears on the sides of narrow waistless
tables and splats or top rails of chairs. The term refers to the resemblance of the
termination to a soft book when rolled up.
榉木: Ju wood, ancient simplifled form of ju Zelkova schneideriana, one of the semi-hard
furniture woods imported in the Ming dynasty; known as southern elm in China.
榉榆: Large leaf elm, a kind of ju wood; also called dayeyu

Chinese antique furniture glossary-K
开光: Medallion, which may be empty or filled with carving or a recessed wood or stone
炕: Chair-level bed, which is also sat on during the day, built-in against the wall of a
room in north China. It is hollow and made of wood, bricks, or, in poorer house holds,
unbaked clay with a brick top. Brick and clay kang can be heated from within. In the case
of wooden kang which were used in the palace, the specially-made brick floor of the entire
room was heated from underneath.
炕案: Narrow recessed-leg kang table.
炕柜: Kang cabinets. Pair of small cabinets placed on the kang.
炕几: Narrow kang table, with either corner legs or solid board legs.
炕桌: Wide kang table. The usual proportion of the long to the short sides is three to two.
看面: Front, literally the show side of a piece of furniture or one of its members.
靠背: Back of chair or throne, either splat or whole back.
靠背椅: Side chair.
栲栳样: Basket back. Song dynasty term referring to the armchair with circular armrest.
款彩: The technique often used to decorate folding screens whereby lacquer is applied
overall to a flat surface, and in areas within the outlines of the design a layer of
lacquer is dug out and the resulting cavity is filled in with coloured lacquer or oil
paint. Term used in Xiushilu (A Record qf Lacquer Art) for what antique dealers call
dadiaotian.大雕填 In the West, such pieces were known first as Bantam work, after the
Dutch East India Company's port in Java, and from the 19th century as Coromandel lacquer,
after the port on the southeast coast of India.
kunmen: Ornamental openings or medallions with cusped upper edges. In the Tang and Song
dynasties these often appear on the platform construction and on Buddhist pedestals.
kunmen 'an: Large tables with ornamental openings on four sides. They existed as early as
the Tang dynasty, as may be seen in, for example, the painting "The Court Musicians".
kunmenchuang: Box-construction bed, having a box-like base with wide panels containing
ornamental openings with cusped upper edges or a single panel with one cusped upper-edge

Chinese antique furniture glossary-L
栏杆: Railing.
拦水线: Water-stopping moulding. High moulding around the edge of a table to prevent spilt
water or wine from soiling the user's clothes.
laojichimu: Old jichi wood.
落堂: Recessed.
落堂踩鼓: Floating panel with raised centre and recessed sides, so that despite its
thickness it will still fit into the grooves of the frame. It is most often found on
pieces dating from the mid Qing dynasty and later.
拉手: Pull, of any shape.
联帮棍: Side posts of an armchair, literally the handle of a sickle; also liandaoba.
镰刀把: Side posts of an armchair, usually slightly curved and upward tapering; also
联二橱: Two-drawer coffer.
亮格: Open shelf.
亮格柜: Display cabinet, a cupboard with one or more open shelves.
亮脚: Brightening-the-feet opening, found on the bottom of chair splats, and under folding
screens and railings of Luohan beds.
两卷相抵: Abutting curls. Pair of back-to-back curls, often found on spandrels and
两面做: Double-faced openwork, on which the carving is finished to the same degree on both
两柱香: Two-incense-stick beading. Double row of beading down the centre of the leg of a
recessed-leg table.
联三橱: Three-drawer coffer.
立柜: Lower part of a compound wardrobe in four parts.
灵芝纹: Lingzhi fungus motif.
六方椅: Hexagonal-seat chair.
六仙桌: Six Immortals table. Medium-sized square table.
六柱床: Six-post canopy bed. Southern name for a canopy bed with front railings.
立柱: Post.
龙凤榫: Tongue-and-groove joint, in which a long dovetail-shaped mortise and tenon is used
to join two long boards. Literally dragon-and-phoenix joint.
龙纹: Dragon design.
螺钿嵌: Mother-of pearl inlay; also qian-luodian.
罗锅枨: Humpbacked stretcher.
罗锅枨加矮老: Humpbacked stretcher with pillar-shaped struts.
罗锅枨加卡子花: Humpbacked stretcher with decorative struts.
罗汉床: Luohan bed. Bed with railings on three sides.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-M
满面葡萄: Allover grape pattern. Term used in 《格古要论》Gegu yaolun (The Essential
Criteria of Antiquities) for the pattern on the burl of nan wood.
马蹄: Horse-hoof foot, which may be inward or outward curving.
马蹄边: Horse-hoof edge.
抹头: Mortise-bearing frame member. If the frame is rectangular the term refers to the two
short pieces with mortises; if square, it indicates the pieces with mortises. On the thick
top boards of most trestle tables there is a matou at each end but no tenon-bearing frame
member. In this instance the tenons, and sometimes also a tongue, are on the top board
itself. Sometimes an everted flange is made from the same piece of wood. Also a short
horizontal frame member, connecting the two long verfical members of a screen, partition
or door.
马闸: Folding stool. Common term for jiaowu.
玫瑰椅: Rose chair. Small armchair with back and armrests at right angles to the seat. See
also wenyi
闷仓: Hidden storage, in a coffer.
闷户橱: Coffer. General term for a coffer, which may have one, two or three drawers and
hidden storage below.
闷榫: Hidden tenon.
门围子架子床: Canopy bed with front railings.
门轴: Door pivot of a round-corner cabinet. It is the tenon-bearing frame member of the
door extended outward, upward and downward to fit into mortises in the top and the
stretcher below.
门柱: Door pillars, the two pillars on the front of the alcove of a canopy bed.
面盆架: Washbasin stand. Term which includes both the simple washbasin stand and the
washbasin stand with towel rack.
面条柜: Noodles cabinet. Common name for round-corner cabinet.
面心: Floating panel, inset in a frame.
面叶: Face plate. Large back plate for pulls and pierced knobs.
明榫: Exposed tenon.
木嵌: Wood inlay.
木梳背: Comb-back, the back of a chair having many vertical straight rods under the top
木轴门柜: Wood-hinged cabinet.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-N
南柏: Southern cypress.
南官帽椅: Southern official's hat armchair. Armchair whose back does not have protruding
蝻木: Nan wood, Phoebe nanmu.
楠榆: Ju wood, name used in the north.
拧麻花: Twisted rope pattern. Form of mould?ing resembling a fried dough twist; also
called shengwen.
扭鼻: Lock knob. Knob with a hole through which the rod of a lock passes. Also 锁鼻
牛毛断: Ox hair crack pattern, found on the surface of aged lacquer.
钮头: Pierced knob. Metal knob with hole through which a lock or securing rod passes;
found on boxes and cabinets.
牛头式椅: Ox head side chair. Chair whose top rail bends backwards resembling the horns of
an ox.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-p
拍子: Hasp. Hinged racket-shaped metal plate usually used to fasten the lid of a chest.
拍子式镜台: Collapsible mirror platform.
炮仗筒: Fire-cracker-shaped opening. Southern craftsmen's name for a kind of yumendong
opening which is the shape of a long oval and used as a motif on the waist.
彭牙: Outward-curving apron.
喷面式: Protruding top.
撇腿: Frontward-curving legs; also called xianglutui (incense burner legs).
劈料: Split moulding. Convex moulding made from a single piece of wood which is usually
divided evenly into two (also three or four in late Qing times) segments.
披麻灰: fabric-wrapped and lacquered, a very old Chinese lacquering technique
平地: Smoothed ground of an area with relief decoration.
屏风: Screen. General term which includes folding screens and screens set in a stand.
屏风式镜台: Screen-type mirror platform.
平几: Armrest.
平头案: Flat-top narrow recessed-leg table, without everted flanges.
平镶: Flush. Term referring, on furniture, to the relationship between the floating panel
and its frame or between metalwork and the surrounding wood surface. Also pingzhuang.
屏心: Central panel of a screen set in a stand.
平装: Flush; also pingxiang.
品字棂格: Alternating-square-openings lattice, the pattern resembling the character pin.
披水牙子: Slanted apron. Craftsmen's term derived from architectural masonry; used on
screens and late Cantonese furniture.
皮条线: Leather-strip moulding. Moulding which is rather flat and broad.
皮条线加洼儿: Leather-strip moulding and beaded moulding with concave centre.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-Q
蔷薇木: Rosewood, Pterocarpus indicus, another name for one type of zitan wood.
嵌螺钿: Mother-of-pearl inlay; also luodian?qian.
翘头: Everted flange.
翘头案: Recessed-leg table with everted flanges.
卡子花: Decorative strut.
起边线: Edge beading.
齐肩膀: Straight shoulder joint. The T-shaped joint of two members, so called because the
tenon-bearing piece has a straight edge and is not mitred.
麒麟送子: Boy riding a qilin, an auspicious motif used on wedding paraphernalia in the
hope of its auguring the birth of a good child.
蜻蜓腿: Dragonfly leg, the long slender cabriole legs of incense stands.
琴桌: Narrow rectangular table with corner legs; also tiaozhou. This is the moe common
meaning of the term and refers to tables of various sizes. Also lute table, a small narrow
rectangular table specially made for playing the lute.
七屏风式罗汉床: Luohan bed with seven-panel screen. Bed whose back and sides have seven
气死猫: Food cupboard, for storing food and kitchen utensils, usually of unfinished wood
with lattice on doors and sides. The name means literally vexing the cat.
齐牙条: Unmitred joint of apron and leg. The joint used in the form of waisted table in
which the two ends of the aprons meet the legs in vertical lines.
棋桌: Chess table, with removable top under which there are usually a double-sided chess
board and a board for playing the game of Double Sixes.
杞梓木: A variant name of jichimu.
圈口: Four-sided inner frame.
券口: Arch-shaped inner frame. Three-sided frame usually found under the seat of a chair
or on open shelves.
券口牙子: Arch-shaped apron, beneath the seat of a chair.
筌蹄: Hourglass-shaped stool.
圈椅: Armchair with curved rest; also 圆椅.
曲尺栏杆: Railing decorated with carpenter's-square lattice, which is in the shape of the
square used by carpenters to make right angles.
曲尺式: Carpenter's-square lattice, in the shape of the square used by carpenters to make
right angles.
雀替: Bracket, architectural term for a weight-bearing member which has some similarities
with the apron on furniture. See also tatou.
Chinese antique furniture glossary-R
软屉: Soft mat seat made of cane, palm or woven silk, for stools, chairs and beds. See
also tengti.
如意云抱鼓蕖花站牙: Shoe-foot with cloud ends, flower-patterned embracing drums, and
standing spandrel. Term used in the Qing Regulations to describe the base of screens and

Chinese antique furniture glossary-S
三接: Three joined pieces. Term referring to the curved rest of an armchair formed of
three pieces of wood with two joints.
三屏风式罗汉床: Luohan bed with three-panel screen. Bed whose back and sides have three
三弯腿: Cabriole leg, an S-shaped leg ending in an outward-curving horse-hoof foot.
上折式交杌: Upward-folding stool.
扇活: Completed part. General term applicable to all kinds of structures.
扇面桌: Fan-shaped table. Two can be put together to form a hexagonal table.
绳纹: Twisted rope pattern. Form of moulding resembling a fried dough twist; more commonly
called ningmahua.
食格: Food box. Term used in Lu Ban jing (Lu Ban's Classic) for a medium-sized picnic box.
十字枨: Crossed stretchers.
书案: Recessed-leg writing table with drawers.
闩杆: Central removable stile, between two doors of a cabinet.
双凤朝阳: Pair of phoenixes facing the sun.
双混面压边线: Double convex moulding with flat edges.
双套环卡子花: Decorative strut in the form of double interlocking circles.
书橱 Book cabinet, Suzhou name for a medium-sized round-corner cabinet.
书格: Book shelf, another name for shujia.
书架: Book shelf, another name for shuge.
书桌: Wide corner-leg writing table with drawers.
四出头官帽椅: Armchair with four protruding ends.
四簇云纹: Four-cloud motif, carved from a board or made by assembling the curved.
四件柜: Compound wardrobe in four parts, con?sisting of two lower cabinets and two upper
cabinets; also called dingxiang Iigui.
四面平式: Straight form. Term used to describe furniture with straight flat sides derived
from the box construction.
四仙桌: Four Immortals table. Small square table suitable for four.
四柱床: Four-post canopy bed.
榫槽: Groove, such as that in which the tongue of a floating panel is inserted.
榫卯: Mortise and tenon.
锁鼻: See 钮鼻 Lock knob. Knob with a hole through which the rod of a lock passes.
琐销: Lock tongue. The. bolt of a lock which en?gages with the lock receptacle to secure a
束腰: Waist. Inset panel between the top and the apron.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-T
榻: Daybed, a light bed without railing.
踏床: Footstool, a Song dynasty term. Also jiaochuang and jiaota.
踏脚枨: Footrest stretcher, usually referring to the front stretcher of a chair. When used
in the context of a stool, it refers to the base stretcher.
绦环板: Ornamental panel.
塌头: Bracket. Term used in Yingzao fashi (Building Standards) for what was called queti
in Qing times.
塌腰: Sag. Condition caused when the top of a piece of furniture droops due to
overloading. Occurs mostly in long pieces of furniture of inferior material and
藤屉: Soft mat seat, made from woven cane. See also ruanti.
甜瓜棱: Melon-shaped moulding. See瓜棱线.
条案: Narrow rectangular table with recessed legs.
条凳: Long narrow bench.
条几: Waistless narrow rectangular table, usually made from three thick boards meeting at
right angles.
条桌: Narrow rectangular table with corner legs. See also qinzhuo.
屉板: Shelf; also 架格.
铁力木(铁梨木/铁栗木): Tieli wood, Mesua ferrea. Wood which resembles jichi wood but
which is slightly inferior in colour and grain.
提盒: Hand-carried box. Term used by Beijing crafts-men for a small picnic box.
提环: Handle.
骰柏楠: Burl of nan wood. Term used in Gegu yaolun (The Essential Criteria Antiquities).
Also doubainan.
透雕: Openwork carving.
透光: Opening.
团螭纹: Stylized hornless dragon design in medallion.
凸面: Convex surface or moulding. Term used in Yingzao fashi (Building Standards) and by
cabinetmakers today; also called gaimian and hunmian.
托泥: Continuous floor stretcher, to the top of which the legs are joined and below which
there are separate small feet.
托腮: Stepped apron moulding. Term used in the Qing Regulations and by craftsmen for a
moulding between the waist and the apron, which may be in one with the apron or made from
a separate piece of wood.
托子: Side floor stretcher. Stretcher on the short sides of a table with recessed legs. At
each end are usually low feet which are sometimes separate pieces of wood attached with

Chinese antique furniture glossary-W
外翻马蹄: Outward-curving horse-hoof foot. Type of foot which often terminates a cabriole
外刷槽: Floating panel with lowered edges on the outside. Panel which slopes gently
towards the sides in order to retain a certain thickness and at the same time to allow it
to fit into the grooves of the frame. It is often used in floating panels with raised
洼面: Concave moulding; also aomian or dawa.
弯带: Curved transverse brace, used under a soft mat seat.
万历柜: Wanli display cabinet. Display cabinet consisting of a cupboard with open shelf
above, resting on a separate low stand. Also called Wanli ge.
wan字: Wan motif. Auspicious motif based on the character wan.
wan字栏杆: Endless wan motif railing. Railing decorated with continuous pattern of
auspicious motifs based on the character wan.
挖缺: Carpenter's-square leg. Leg from which about one-half is cut away from the inside so
that in cross-section it resembles a carpenter's square. This type of leg preserves more
traces of the platform construction than legs terminating in horse-hoof feet.
挖堂肚: Lowered centre apron, often found on chairs with an arched apron.
围屏: Folding screen.
围子: Seat railing, on beds and chairs.
文椅: Writing chair. Southern name for rose chair. See meiguiyi.
卧槽平镶: Flush metalwork.
委角线: Indented corner moulding.
wu杌凳: Stool. Term more commonly used in north China than deng.
五接: Five joined pieces. Term applied to curved rest of an armchair formed of five pieces
of wood with four joints.
五抹(mo)门: Door with five horizontal members.
乌木: Ebony.
五屏风式罗汉床: Luohan bed with five-panel screen. Bed whose back and sides have five
无束腰: Waistless. Type of furniture without inset panel between the top and the apron, a
tradition derived from wooden architectural construction.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-X
箱: Chest.
香几: Incense stand.
香炉腿: Frontward-curving legs in the manner of legs on incense burners; also called 撇腿.
镶嵌: Inlay.
相思木: Alternative name for jichi wood, some-times translated as boxwood.
线脚: Moulding. General term for all types of moulding.
弦(xian)纹: String moulding, on round stools.
销钉: Wood or bamboo nail.
小箱: Small chest.
楔(xie)钉榫: Peg tenon joint, used on curved members.
血榉: Blood ju wood, a kind of ju wood which is reddish and comes from old trees.
斜wan字: Slanted wan motif.
新花梨: New huali wood. See huali.
新鸡翅木: New jichi wood. See jichimu.
绣墩: Embroidery stool, another name for zuodun and gudun (drum stool).
须弥座: Buddhist pedestal, a waisted pedestal.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-Y
亚边线: Flat edges of a moulding.
仰俯莲纹: Up-and-down lotus flower design. Ornament consisting of two lotus blossoms, one
upright and the other inverted, with the top of their petals touching.
仰俯山字: Up-and-down mountain design. Ornament consisting of two shun characters
砚屏: lnkstone screen.
药箱: Medicine chest.
牙嵌: Ivory inlay.
牙条: Apron.
牙头: Apron-head spandrel. Spandrel attached to the apron.
牙子: Apron and spandrels. General term which includes aprons, apron-head spandrels,
spandrels and hanging spandrels.
椅: Chair
椅凳: Seat.
一封书式: One-part square-corner cabinet. Type of square-corner cabinet, resembling in
shape a case (套 ) of traditional Chinese books.
衣架: Clothing rack.
一块玉: Solid piece of jade. Term used to describe a single piece of wood for the top of a
piece of furniture, especially a trestle table or narrow rectangular table with recessed
银锭榫: Dovetailed tenon.
瘿木: Burl wood.
影木: Shadow wood, another name for burl wood.
硬挤门: Cabinet without a central removable stile.
硬屉: Hard seat. Category of seats which includes wooden and hard mat seats.
瘿子: Burl wood, alternative name for瘿木.
隐襄: Cushion.
银杏: Ginkgo wood, Ginkgo biloba.
椅圈: Curved rest of a chair.
一腿三牙: Three spandrels to one leg. Type of corner where one leg joins two apron-head
spandrels and an additional spandrel along the outer edge.
一腿三牙罗锅枨: Three spandrels to one leg and a humpbacked stretcher. A feature that
commonly occurs on a type of square table.
一炷香: One-incense-stick beading. Single row of beading down the centre of the leg of a
recessed-leg table.
有束腰: Waisted. Type of furniture with inset panel between the top and the apron,
tradition derived from Buddhist pedestals.
圆凳: Round stool.
圆雕: Three-dimensional carving.
圆后背交椅: Folding chair with curved rest.
圆角柜: Round-corner cabinet. Splayed wood cabinet with hinged doors and rounded-edged top
which protrudes beyond the side posts.
圆椅: Armchair with curved rest. Term used in Sancai tu hui (Pictorial Encyclopaedia of
Heaven, Earth and Man) for 圈椅.
月洞式大床: Large bed with full-moon opening.
月亮门: Full-moon opening.
月牙桌: Half-moon table.
榆木:northern elm in China
鱼门洞: Decorative opening, generally found on the waist. General term which includes
different specific shapes such as rectangular openings with stepped corners and the long
oval openings referred to as paozhangtong. Term used in the Qing Regulations, and more
popular in south China.
云头纹: Cloud-head design, a symmetrical motif.
云纹: Cloud design.
余塞板: Outer panel. Panel between the door and outer frame of a cabinet.

Chinese antique furniture glossary-Z
栽榫: Planted tenon. Tenon which is not made from the same piece of wood as the member but
is a separate piece fitted into the member.
zuo火门: Opening with cusped upper edge. Term used by Beijing craftsmen because of the
resemblance of the opening to that of a country stove.
扎榫: Slide lock tenon. Southern name for zouma-xiao (running horse tenon).
站牙: Standing spandrel. Any two spandrels facing each other against a post, such as those
found on stands, clothes racks and screens.
折叠式镜台: Folding mirror platform.
折叠式面盆架: Folding washbasin stand.
折叠榻: Folding daybed.
枕凳: Bench-shaped pillow.
真两上: Twice attached. Term used when the waist and apron are made of two separate pieces
of wood. Also refers to the method of construction whereby the apron and the apron
moulding are made from a single piece of wood and the waist from another piece of wood.
Used interchangeably with jiasanshang.
枕屏: Pillow screen. Small screen placed on beds.
真三上: Thrice attached. Method of construc-tion whereby the waist, stepped apron moulding
and apron are each made from a separate piece of wood. Most post-Qianlong period furniture
is made by this method of construction, which is not as strong as the twice-attached
折枝花: Floral sprays.
直枨: Straight stretcher.
直后背交椅: Folding side chair.
直足: Straight leg. Leg without a horse-hoof foot.
中牌子: Central panel of a clothes rack or washbasin stand with towel rack. Cabinetmakers'
轴钉: Metal pivot, the metal rod put through the legs of a folding chair as a pivot.
撞: Tiers. Southern term.
装板: Panel tongued-and-grooved into a frame. Panel may be flush or recessed.
竹节纹: Bamboo-shaped.
桌: Corner-leg table.
桌案: Tables. Term referring to both corner-leg and recessed-leg tables.
着地管脚枨: Floor base stretcher. Combination of the base stretcher and side floor
stretchers on recessed-leg tables.
仔框: Inner frame.
子口: Indented box lid. Box lid which has a narrow indentation along its inner edge; the
edge of the box has a wider indentation along its outer edge so that the lid can be
securely closed.
紫檀: Zitan wood, Pterocarpus santalinus. Purplish wood, one of the most important
furniture woods.
粽角榫 Mortise-and-tenon joint at which three square members meet at one corner. Name
derived from the resemblance of the joint to the corners of parcels of sticky rice wrapped
in leaves which are eaten at the Dragon Boat Festival.
走马销: Running horse tenon. Planted tenon which is tapered and stepped at one end. It is
inserted in the larger end of the mortise and slid to the smaller end, thereby locking the
joint. To separate the two members the tenon must be pushed back to the large end of the
mortise. See also zasun.
柞木: Zuo wood, Quercus dentata. Type of oak which is semi-hard and yellowish-brown in
colour, with grain lines a few centimetres long and pointed at both ends.
座屏风; Screen set in a stand.
Enjoy "White Plum Blossom"