This November, the Altfield Gallery pays homage to Bamboo, a favourite subject in Chinese art, poetry and literature over the centuries, with a carefully curated collection of fine old bamboo chairs, tables, and display pieces. Bamboo is a symbol of virtue, traditional Chinese values, and harmony between nature and human beings. It is a treasured material and artistic medium, enjoyed by the literati gentleman class in China. The d├ęcor in a literati household reflected the taste and living habits of the dwellers, and therefore the choices of furniture commissioned and purchased by them possessed high standards in style, proportion and balance, and workmanship, while paying attention to form and function with regard to aesthetics and practicality.
We have assembled a collection of both classic and unusually interesting forms from the early to mid- 1900's. They are fine examples of the artisan carpenter's craft - wonderfully created with intricate joinery and many displaying a fine 'wrapping' technique which adds great strength to the forms. These beautiful pieces evoke a love of nature and are particularly decorative and enchanting when mixed into either a traditional or contemporary interiors.
Among the highlights are four fine armchairs with black lacquer panelled backs, hand-painted with gilt floral images; altar tables, horse-shoe backed armchairs and low k'ang tables also feature along with an unusual pair of triangular side tables and a slim corner book shelf.
When Westerners first visited China and came across the charm of bamboo furniture, it inspired a craze for the style, with pieces being exported to Europe, and even emulated there in pieces made of carved wood. Chinoiserie as a decorative style, has remained an enduring and strong passion in the West until this day.
We invite you to visit us at the Gallery, and have a chance to appreciate these fine old pieces, and see how such timeless style still works in the stylish interiors of today.