What is Chinoiserie Furniture? A Buyer's Guide

Chinoiserie Furniture can create the exotic look in any room. Here we will talk about its history, two types of Chinoiserie Furniture and where you can buy one.

1. What is Chinoiserie Style?
Chinoiserie (Shin-Wa-Za-Ree) was the European decorative style influenced by the East Asian style.

2. When was Chinoiserie Popular?
Chinoiserie first appeared in the mid 17th century in furniture and other decorative items. At first, oriental motifs were presented in a western style structure. Later in the 18th century, the whole oriental furniture was imitated. In Chippendale style furniture in the mid 18th century used latticework (geometric interweaving patterns) in the design. Chinoiserie lost touch in Europe at the end of the 19th century.

3. What Does Chinoiserie Mean?
"Chinoi" is the French word for "Chinese". The word "Chinoiserie" means Chinese style decorations. However, when we talk about "Chinoiserie", it also includes Japanese style decorations too.

4. What is Chinoiserie Furniture?
It is the blanket terms for both Chinese style furniture and Japanese style furniture. The following section will discuss both furniture styles.

4.1 Chinese Style Furniture
China has a very long history of furniture design. However, it's the furniture from Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that were popular in the western world. Then, Ming era it's considered the golden age of furniture design in China. The key characteristics of Chinese furniture can be summarized as below,

- Landscape: The use of landscape such as mountain and river can be found anywhere in all Chinese furniture and decorative items from the bed to porcelain.

- Animal: There are 2 common animal motifs in Chinese furniture. The first one is the use of the dragon and phoenix to symbolize the natural harmony. Dragon means the sun or the king and phoenix means the moon or the queen. The second one is the use of monkey which is one of the animals in the Chinese zodiac. It symbolizes "cleverness" or "wisdom".

- Flower: The most common flower motif is the use of water lily which can be seen on any type of furniture.

- Pheasant: The way of life of local pheasant is also popular in Chinese furniture.

- Color: Each color has special meaning in Chinese culture. Red means fire, energy, good luck, fortune and joy. Gold means something related to the king and wealth. Blue means relaxation, calmness and long life.

4.2 Japanese Style Furniture
Traditionally, Japanese used less furniture than Chinese. However, they had a very good lacquering technique. Since Europe couldn't produce lacquer by themselves, they imported lacquer made from the Asian lac tree from Japan. Then, the use of Japanese lacquering techniques by westerners was called "Japanning"

5. Where to Buy Chinoiserie Furniture?
Now we will introduce you to newly produced Chinoiserie style furniture available on Amazon.com as below,

5.1 Dining Set
Chinoiserie Dining Set

This dining set is the perfect example of Chinoiserie. It comes with elegant lacquering and also includes common features of Chinoiserie such as the use of flower and landscape.

5.2 Coffee Table

Coffee Table
This Chinoiserie style coffee table shows you that Chinoiserie style can be an integral part of your room. You can use it together with other vintage style furniture to create a chic living room.

5.3 Desk

This harpsichord style desk with chair demonstrates how to combine western structure with Chinese motifs. This Chinoiserie chair uses very good colors. Red background means joy and luck and gold decorative details mean wealth.

5.4 End Table

End Table
This blue end table represents relaxation. The floral and bird motif goes very well with the color. Actually, it looks modern enough to use in any room.

5.5 TV Cabinet

TV Cabinet
This black and gold TV cabinet makes the floral and royal motif paintings really stand out. It's ideal for any room.

5.6 Screen

Screen (Room Divider) like this is still used widely in both Chinese and Japanese homes today. It features Chinese Spring Festival beautifully. The use of black and gold color like this gives this furniture the real meaning.

Have you ever used Chinoiserie style furniture at home?