It wasn’t until the Chinese began to make use of stools that they began making the Chinese writing desk that has today captured the attention of the world wide public. Although the Chinese writing desk was created for its all practical purpose much like everything else from China it became a collectable work of art.
The beginnings of the development of the writing desk can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty which lasted between 618-907 A.D. By the end of the 1200’s the entire floor matting culture had been replaced by elevated seating and hence the need for the writing desk. It must be noted that the writing desk was during this time accompanied by the stool whereas the chair was seldom to be seen.
The evolution of the Chinese writing desk is directly related to the concept of elevated seating in the form of stools and chairs. Before this period the trend of low level writing tables was prevalent in China. One could easily sit on the floor and use these tables for writing purposes.
With the advent of the stools and chairs however arose the need for elevated writing desks and this necessity paved the way for some of the most beautiful pieces of furniture that Asia has to offer.
The development of the higher writing desks came about in what is known as the Ming period. There were basically two categories of Chinese writing desks that were being developed during this period.
The An table was one that featured recessed legs that can be seen on the modern day Altar table. The other version was the Zhuo table with had its legs protruding from each of its corners like the Ming Console table.
Although known as the Chinese writing table the unique thing about these tables was that they could be used for a multitude of purposes. Traditionally the writing desk or table has been used as a dining table and even a table to display ornaments such as flower vases etc.
Popular styles in writing desks
The Beijing circa 1850 is one of the most popular varieties of the traditional Chinese writing desk. This is one of those desks that can be used for a variety of purposes. As per Chinese tradition the shape of the table was purposely kept square rather than oval or rectangular. This made communication across the table much easier.
Another classic feature of old school Chinese writing desks are the horse hoof shaped feet that the tables sport. The S shaped braces are also a trade mark characteristic of Chinese writing desks and so is the waisted tabled top.
Today one will be able to find a wide variety of ancient Chinese writing desks that have been restored and are in decent condition. These writing desks can be used for practical purposes and serve as great decoration pieces in the home.
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