Related News

Home » Feature

China's majestic screen gems

SCREENS are key elements in traditional Chinese interior design and decoration - they were often works of art in themselves and signs of their owners' taste and wealth.

Screens were used for privacy, partitioning and adornment and originally had practical functions, like blocking the wind from an outside door. On entering a traditional home or building it was not uncommon to encounter a screen.

The history of screens goes back to the Western Zhou Dynasty (c. 11th century-770 BC). Screens, with elaborate designs, such as dragons, signified authority, were placed behind an emperor's throne.

But eventually they were no longer used by royal families alone.

There are various types of screens, some single panel screens on stands, and some foldable. Their value lies not only in craftsmanship but also in the cultural richness of the paintings and poems on the screens.

In recent years, traditional screens and reproductions have become very popular in interior decoration.

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), screens were extremely luxurious and sumptuous, fashioned with precious materials and fine craftsmanship. Some were inlaid with semi-precious stones and panels of beautifully patterned stone.

A screen displayed in the Shanghai Museum (pictured left) was once used by the royal family during the Qing Dynasty. Made of highly prized zitan wood, or red sandalwood, it consists of five panels, each comprised of four parts and decorated with five-claw dragons flying in clouds, birds, flowers, trees and rocks.

Designs are created with colorful jade inlaid on black lacquer. The screen stand is carved with a lotus-petal design.

With high quality wood and luxury design with jade, it enhances the elegance and magnificence of the screen set, making it an outstanding and remarkable exhibit in the museum.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend