Inlaying is the most elegant styles of traditional Chinese furniture.
The furniture is inlaid with various materials, which become different patterns.
The handicraft of bone inlay in wood
In Chinese language, “inlay” is referred to as “镶嵌” [xiāng qiàn], which is represented in two different techniques.
In the late Qing Dynasty, “镶” and “嵌” were combined for a new word meaning ornately inlaid items.
Wooden bed with bone inlay from Ningbo, Zhejiang Province
The handicraft of bone inlay in wood is widespread in China.
The most well-known bone inlaid furniture is from Ningbo, Zhejiang Province.
The furniture is inlaid with ox horn, ox bone, or even elephant bone and ivory, which achieves an effect of elegance and luxury.
Folding chairs with bone inlay
Boxwood carvings with a pattern of human face and body
This bed from Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, is inlaid with bone as well as wood. The wood inlay is made from different colored wood, which is carved, painted and applied to the inlay, and becomes a pattern of different layers or only decorates part of a pattern as an accent.
wood with sea snails and shells inlay
Sea snails and shells shown in the carvings above are made into thin slivers with design of human figures, birds and flowers, geometric patterns or Chinese characters.
The shell slivers are used as inlay on the surface of items and their gorgeous colors have a strong visual effects.
A chair with marble inlay
Stone material is also applied to the inlay on screens, tables and chairs.
The best stone inlay are the ones with patterns of mist-shrouded mountains and rivers.
The natural stone grain adds to the vividness of the design.
A screen with marble inlay with a natural pattern of mountain and river
There are a variety of inlaying techniques of traditional furniture.
The craftsmen combined different materials ingeniously and created various traditional inlaid furniture, which has become a treasured artistic heritage for us.