The artistic beauty of Ming-style furniture

Background and significance of the study

1, the background of the study

China’s furniture art has a long history, as early as more than 3000 years ago in the Shang Dynasty, there has been furniture. As for the legends about furniture, there are many records in history books. Legend has it that Shen Nong invented the mat, bed and fungus mattress, Shao Hao invented the reed, Yao started making blankets, and Yi Yin made the dust-bearing system. In ancient China, people’s living forms were divided into two types: mat and draped foot, and the development of furniture was based on the changes in people’s living styles and forward development, with all kinds of furniture adapting to the needs of living forms in terms of its function, shape, and size.

The development of furniture in China has undergone the evolution from low type furniture to high type furniture. Shang and Zhou to the case of the Han period is used to adapt to the low type of furniture sitting on the floor way. Wei and Jin to the Tang and Five Dynasties period, the high type of northern sitting furniture “Hu bed” to the Central Plains. After the Song Dynasty, it is a period of high furniture adapted to sit on the feet. After the popularization and development of the Song and Yuan dynasties, by the middle of the Ming dynasty, high artistic achievements had been achieved, coupled with overseas trade and the improvement of handicraft techniques, the art of furniture entered a mature stage. The “Ming-style furniture”, which is known as a high artistic achievement, was formed. In overseas, people compare it to “a pearl of Oriental art”.

2、The significance of the study

The precipitation of Ming furniture has been the symbol of an era, a material soul. It proves that the design reflects the essence and spirit of the times, as well as the existing dynamics of the source of the way of living. It is a reflection of the literary ideology reflected in the Marxist view of literature and art on social existence, but also the Ming furniture reflects the brilliance of furniture design at the time and even has a profound influence on the current trend of furniture designism.

Ming furniture ranks among the top three furniture items in the world, and furniture does exist in all areas included in luxury. According to the eighteenth-century English furniture master chipppendale in his Furniture Guide, there are only three types of furniture called “style”, namely Ming furniture, Gothic furniture, and Rococo style. Of these, the Chinese Ming style is the first. As a more independent and mature furniture design, Ming-style furniture reflects the unbalanced development of material production and artistic production.

Modern industrial design can be inspired by Ming furniture. Ming furniture from rosewood, sourwood, Chinese catalpa, pearwood, artistic style to ancient, elegant, refined, beautiful to summarize. Type of sitting and lying class, bearing class, lying class, shelf class, etc., including the circle chair, four out of the head of the official chair is more prominent. Modern fork-bone chairs are designed from the study of Ming furniture evolution.

Ming furniture modeling features are particularly concerned about the beauty of the lines. It is not to win with red tape, but focus on the external contours of the furniture line changes, varying from object to object, each presenting its posture, giving people a strong curve beauty. Such as “S”-shaped chair back, both in line with the physiological characteristics of the human body, but also unique.

It is also to meet the specific aesthetic needs of the subject, but also the value of furniture judged by the identification. The analysis and study of the structure, decoration, material and other elements of Ming furniture, using the form of semiotic language expression, mortise and tenon symbols are the bridge between the symbols of the components, it is also for the Ming furniture modeling simple, smooth lines to provide a technical guarantee, reflecting the economic and technical basis for the development of artistic forms of prosperity.

The so-called Ming-style furniture generally refers to China’s mid-Ming Dynasty to the early Qing Dynasty production, mahogany, ironwood, nan, camphor and other high-quality hardwood and firewood as the main material, with a specific style and style of furniture. Because the production era mainly in the Ming Dynasty, so called Ming furniture.

It is also a furniture design with the characteristics of the times, which is the result of the joint action of literary design and economic production at that time. Ming furniture is the concentrated embodiment of artistic beauty, the basic use of line based modeling, the composition of the Ming furniture of the parts of the combination of straight and soft, and has echoed the rhythmic lines to express the distinctive form of modeling, giving people a strong sense of line beauty.

Such as Ming furniture four out of the head on the back of the official chair of the horizontal wood – hitching brain, the lines of the ups and downs of the rich changes, or warp or drape, or back or incline, or out or close, or curved or straight, all with charm. Ming chairs on the backrest plate curve both in line with the physiological characteristics of people and unique. As for the Ming dynasty furniture, a variety of line foot, is also the Ming dynasty furniture reflects the unique expression of the beauty of the art of line. Through the different combinations of straight lines and curves, the lines and surfaces meet to produce the effect of concave and convex.

Ming furniture mostly uses mortise and tenon structure, according to different parts of the design of different mortise and tenon, so that the furniture is stable and strong, showing the high skill of furniture manufacturing. In the structure of furniture, the scientific nature of the structure of Ming furniture is demonstrated in four aspects, namely, the smoothness of the tenon and mortise, the beveled joints, the mutual eating of tenons and mortises, and the misalignment of the components, and the reasonableness of the structure of Ming furniture is discussed in four aspects, namely, the gap reservation, the repetition of tenons and mortises, the large entry and small exit, and the reinforcement through pins;

In the study of Ming furniture decorative techniques and decorative themes, we focus on the three important application rules of Ming furniture decorative art: “drawing the dragon’s eye”, “beauty in plain”, and “emphasis on function”. It also has a high practical value in material making, scribing, carving and assembly.

The original design respects the origin of the idea, takes materials from nature, and respects its own ideology, reduces the change of external objects, and maintains the natural form of the furniture, which is dynamic and beautiful. It also conforms to the aesthetic trends of contemporary people.

As the seat of the chair, in order to give a sense of stability, the lower part of the total to heavy solid some appropriate, otherwise there will be a sense of head heavy, generally do not use the corner tooth is precisely for this reason.

Ming furniture is mostly plain, the exterior is not decorated in vain, often with a very small area to fine carving, embellishment and decoration in the appropriate parts, and large surface, large curvature of the overall formation of striking restraint decent contrast. Beautiful and vivid decorative patterns, moderate and simple carving and rounded hidden edge of the knife, coupled with the full use of high-quality hardwood wood natural color, and appropriate inlay natural and vivid marble, and the beautiful natural texture of the hardwood complement each other, so that the decoration of Ming furniture has a natural beauty, subtle charm.

At the same time, Ming furniture follows a “furniture etiquette”, from the Ming Wanli “Nanke Dream” illustration, research shows that: the Ming Dynasty period presented a religious rituals characterized by the customs of life, when the literati with a good sitting posture, writing and reading also seems more spiritual and; this style makes the Ming and Qing chairs furniture in the design form More straight and rigid in the design form, even sleepy little rest are “crouching dignified”, of course, this is both the result of the Ming chair furniture form structure constraints, but also the embodiment of literati refinement.

In short, Ming furniture in the form of symbols, decorative symbols, structural symbols and material symbols have a unique form. The morphological symbols usually include point, line, surface and volume symbols.

In Ming furniture, the point symbols are embodied in the card flower, the tooth head, the open light and the end of the line, which are mainly decorative parts. The linear symbols have both structural and decorative parts, such as: hitching brains, armrests, tents, legs and feet, teeth, brackets, etc.

The surface symbols embodied in the modeling form are generally square and round, such as chairs, tables, beds, cabinets, etc., while the “S” and “C” shaped curved symbols are mainly used in the backrest of chairs. The shape of the nature of the volumetric symbol is generally a combination of multiple parts, such as: by the chair plate, waist, teeth and other parts of the combination of solid symbols, by the chair surface, upper leg foot, armrests, backrest, or by the chair plate, lower leg foot, tent, etc. surrounded by the virtual symbols, in fact, the furniture itself, the whole is a volume of the coexistence of real and imaginary symbols.

The structure of Ming furniture has its own independence and plays a dominant role in the form, and the structure itself is also the form. The mortise and tenon symbol is the bridge between the symbols of the components, there are through mortise and tenon, half mortise and tenon, boring mortise and tenon, boring mortise and tenon, hook and pad mortise and tenon, etc.

Ming furniture is a model of ancient furniture in China, with its novel design, beautiful shape, exquisite selection of materials and excellent production, achieving the unity of form and function, with unique artistic beauty. At the same time its artistic beauty of the form is actually a reflection of the material and spiritual civilization of the time. Therefore, modern design should learn and absorb the essence of Ming furniture to revitalize and develop modern design.