Antique Chinese Carved Canopy Bed with Alcove

Antique Chinese Canopy Wedding Bed (Antique Chinese Carved Canopy Bed with Alcove). Rare Qing Dynasty, elaborately carved, antique Chinese wedding bed chamber; including rear canopy bed sleeping area, with alcove greeting and seating area in front.

Traditionally, the alcove area of Chinese bed chambers were used to greet visitors and usually were furnished with two chairs and a center table; from which tea, wine and food were served. The window openings were covered with beautiful silks in the warm months and warmer fabrics during the colder months. They could be drawn closed for privacy or opened to allow breezes to pass through. The ceiling area could have been draped with silk.

The front of the alcove section of the bed chamber features beautifully carved panels of garden scenes, scrolls and an amazing multi-tiered, projecting cornice. Much of the carvings are embellished with reflective mica-for a glittering effect. The carved panels have a reddish, clear lacquer finish and are highlighted in places with silver and gold lacquer.

Of special note on the cornice are wooden mounted carved birds that are attached to springs which cause them to move and seemingly fly. Also the cornice features carved phoenixes which signify womanhood and feminine virtues.

Between the alcove and the raised bed platform entranceway is an inscription on an upper panel which reads "Consecutively Bearing Precious Sons." In the Chinese tradition, having many sons was very desirable. Placing the panel near the bed was an auspicious symbol, referencing the bed area as a place where fertility was needed. The entrance between the alcove and the sleeping area would have traditionally been draped.

The raised bed platform in the rear of the bed chamber is where a mattress-like cushion would have been placed for sleeping. This area is equivalent to a full size Western bed, 47" * 76". Included with the bed chamber is a newly crafted raised platform, the same height as the sleeping area platform, and made to fit within the alcove area. This would make the entire bed chamber into a sleeping area. The sleeping area has two windows of each side. These windows have wooden panels that can be raised or lowered for privacy, light and warmth. The ceiling of the bed area is wood; which would have been covered in silk or another fabric and draped in a canopy fashion.

Construction of the bed chamber is fascinating, as no nails or glue was used. All wooden framework, beams, supports, panels, and carvings are held in place by locking together with tension -- making assembly and disassembly simple. In fact, the entire bed chamber can be assembled in approximately one hour. The only tool needed is a rubber mallet and about four people to hold pieces in place until assembled. All pieces of the bed chamber are labeled and complete step-by-step instructions are available; as well as photos taken during an assembly.

While some of the photographs attached show the bed chamber adorned with chairs, tables, bed covering and drapes; these are not included with the bed nor the price. Antique Asian Furniture & Furnishings: Antique Chinese Carved Canopy Bed with Alcove from Zhejiang Province, China.

Item Details

Reference #:
Furniture & Furnishings
Antiques (approx100yrs)
circa 1850
(Width x Height X Depth)
84.00 x 99.00 x 120.00
Antique / Good
Mixed Woods