Wood For Ming & Qing Antique Furniture
Rosewood (Hua li mu):
It is a general term that encompasses a variety of woods. Unlike other dark woods, rosewood may have
a mild yellow hue (highly prized Hua li mu), or a more intense one often called Yellow Rosewood or
Huang Jua li.
Chicken wing wood (Ji chi mu):
It is a prized and expensive hardwood is so named for its grain which resembles the pattern of bird
feathers. There are two kinds, new and old. The old one features tight and dark purple brown color
interwoven in between; the new one is tough in texture, with alternative purple and black colors and
It is also called "Zi Yu" or "Suan Zhi" in Guangdong. Red wood is also divided into new and old. Old red
wood is similar to red sandalwood, but looks darker in color hues. Its texture is not very tight, but it has
fragrance. New red wood features reddish yellow with similar motifs to yellow rose wood sometimes.
Ebony (Wu mu ):
It is a valuable furniture wood produced in India, Thailand, Guangdong and Hainan tropical area of
China. Its texture is hard and fine with deep black like lacquer in color; There are two kinds: one sinks in
the water, the other doesn't . It is a fine hard wood.
It is also called "Zi Nan", a kind of evergreen arbor produced in the western and southern area of
Yangtze River with gray bark and vertical crack. It is tight in structure with beautiful grain, fragrant smell
and purple color. It does not crack when dry, has little retroactivity, but the wood is a little soft. It is often
used for mosaic and joint material.
Camphor wood (Zhang mu) :
It is produced in the southern area of the Yangtze River. Its fragrant scent and insect repelling nature has
made it ideal for wardrobes and chests because it is not only worm resistant, but also humidity
resistant. Also popular for its density and grain compared to similar grade wood, and cracks are rarely
found. The texture is hard with beautiful grain .The core part is red brown or light yellow in color with a
Jumu (Chinese Southern Elm):
The most used 'soft' wood for Ming furniture, the grain is tighter and a little more refined and denser than
that of its cousin the Northern Elm. The defining characteristic of Southern Elm wood is its stunning
wave-like lines. Suzhou carpenters call them "pagoda" or "mountain peaks rising one above the other"
texture elm. It is an excellent wood for furniture because of its durability. The elm wood is moderately
heavy, hard. It is difficult to split because of its interlocked grain.
Elm has good color from a grayish white to light brown narrow sapwood, heartwood is reddish brown to
dark brown according to the age of the wood. Among them, aged Jumu is the most beautiful in texture
and color for it is cut at old age.
Yumu (Chinese Northern Elm):
It is also called “Bai Yu”. Produced in China flatlands, it has straight lines and rough structure.
It means all kinds of wood with whirlpool grains, not special wood type; It is made of twisted roots,
gnarled branches and abnormal trunk forms it. Viewed from side, it looks like grapes or whirlpools in a
big river. Interesting, vivid and beautiful, it is hard, has fine in texture and is hard in weight.
Chinese Catalpa(Zi mu):
It is a little light in weight with soft and rough in the texture; the grain is clear, making it difficult to dry, but
not easy to warp when damp. Very shrinkage and corrosion resistant.
Walnut wood (Hu tao mu):
It is white with brown tone; the colors range from light white to brown red; the texture is rough with
Fir (Shan mu):
One of the most popular softwoods used in Chinese furniture making, especially for cabinets. A fragrant
and durable wood, also popular in construction and shipbuilding. It is white or light yellow in color, with
plain and straight lines. It is fine in texture, corrosion resistant and easy to process.
Teak (You mu):
This hard wood is valued for its remarkable toughness, its exceptional dimensional stability and clear
and beautiful grain. It also has a high oil content that works as a natural water repellent and is therefore
virtually immune to rotting. It is produced in the southwestern Asia area. It is not easy to warp, and it has
little shrinkage when dry: mostly used in technical decoration, carving parts.
Birch (Bai hua):
It is also called “Bauhaus”, soft and fine in texture and beautiful in grain but fragile, yellowish white in
color; Clear annual growth rings, big strength, good elasticity and hygroscopic. It is easily cracked and
warped if careless in the process of drying.
Both tree and roots contain a yellow aromatic oil, called sandalwood oil, the odor of which persists for
years in such articles as ornamental boxes, furniture, and fans made of the white sapwood. Sandalwood
trees have been cultivated since antiquity for their yellowish heartwood, which plays a major role in many
Oriental funeral ceremonies and religious rites. The trees are slow growing, usually taking about 30
years for the heartwood to reach an economically useful thickness. Zitan is an extremely dense wood
which sinks in water. It is a member of the rosewood family and is botanically classified in the
Pterocarpus genus. The wood is blackish-purple to blackish-red in color, and its fibers are laden with
deep red pigments which have been used for dye since ancient times. The fine texture of the wood grain
is especially suitable for intricate carving. Early records indicate that zitan was sourced in tropical forests
of southern China, throughout Indochina, and from Hainan Island. The tree grows quite slowly. Few
pieces are known to be greater than one foot in width. While the tree has been considered to be extinct,
new sources have been discovered in Indo-China as well as Southeast Asia over the recent years. Zitan
is very prized due to its rarity and durability. It is a very slow growing evergreen and maturity can take
Cypress Wood (bai mu):
It is a dense smooth wood with light yellow/brown coloring and is very resistant to rot and decay.