Other Precious Hardwoods


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Huanghuali is not as rare as zitan, but is also a classic material for traditional Chinese furniture. Furniture made from huanghuali is also valuable, and the coloration brighter, making it a particular favorite in the West. Because there was more huanghuali available, some of the best furniture from the Qing and Ming periods was made from huanghuali. Jichimu, another precious hardwood found in Chinese furniture making, is typically dark brownish purple, with light and dark grains interleaved. The grain often resembles a feather, and is often said to be the most unusual and beautiful of all the tropical hardwoods

Other types of stet hardwood used in Chinese classical furniture include wumu, tielimu, heitanmu, yomu and yumu. Wumu is often used for musical instruments. Tielimu is a little less costly than others, and typically available in larger sizes. Typically, the most affordable Chinese classical hardwood furniture is made of tielimu.

One peculiar kind of wood often used in Chinese classical furniture is called yingmu, or burlwood. Burlwood is not the wood of a specific tree but rather refers to wood cut from a large knot or twisted root. Yingmu can come from any kind of tree and always has a circular grain or pattern on its surface. Because of this unique pattern, it is often used for the top part of a stool or a center decoration piece. In the Palace Museum of China, for example, there is a set of four zitan wood armchairs with curved rests with splats made in three sections, the middle one having a yingmu panel.

Although these other hardwoods do not have the elegant appearance and unique reputation of zitan, they possess the advantage of being practical, valuable and less expensive than zitan. Arguably huanghuali is almost as rare and precious as zitan, and jichimu, though it does not have zitan's pedigree, is considered one of the most gorgeous grained woods. Tielimu is sturdy and naturally suited for large pieces.

At Zitantique we offer pieces made in a variety of precious tropical hardwoods, but our main focus has been on restoring a lost cultural heritage by gradually introducing zitan back into the market. We strive to provide a pleasant buying experience and guarantee your satisfaction.


Helpful links on understanding wood used in Classical Chinese Furniture joinery

Wood Glossary by Christies on Fine Chinese Furniture

Wood used in Chinese Classical Furniture

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