Chinese furniture appraisal
To find out how much your antique Chinese furniture may be worth, contact us.
By 1715, every major European port had an office in Canton (Guangzhou,) China. While China has been known to Europe for hundreds of years prior, it was in the 1700s that the craze for chinoiserie, or all things Chinese, really began. Even the English practice of taking tea was a result of this fascination with the East. The new custom of taking tea spawned the need for teapots, tea caddies and tea tables. By the 1730s, every fashionable house in England needed to boast a Chinese room.
To that end, furniture was needed. While the Chinese had a venerable furniture design history that had sprang independently of Western furniture design, the two share many design forms. However, furniture created in China specifically for export was usually based on Western prototypes, often with desired design specifications supplied directly to the maker. Export furniture often took the form of black lacquer furniture, ornamented with marble and mother-of-pearl. Trunks, cabinets, tables and desks were popular, often featuring floral and bird motifs, as well as landscape scenes in aerial perspective. As time went on, Chinese designers began to incorporate Western elements into their designs of their own accord.
Eventually the Qing dynasty, who had been the ones to open the trade gates, closed them back up, banning the export of Chinese-made furniture. This gave rise to many more Western reproductions, which can still be valuable, but it needs an expert to distinguish between an original and a repo, especially as reproduction and fakes are being produced presently. Original Chinese export furniture from the 18th and 19th century can go for upwards of $20,000.