Chinese art historian:     Material culture   -   Furniture   -   Painting   -   Architecture 



Classic Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties

Photo by Seth Affoumado


©2018 Sarah Handler

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Beyond the Screen: Chinese Furniture of the 16th and 17th Centuries

Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture

Ten Speed Press, 2005.

Furniture and architecture are closely related—each made according to the same principles of construction, design, and proportion—and none more so than the glorious examples in the lavishly illustrated Ming Furniture in the Light of Chinese Architecture.  Chinese art historian Sarah Handler writes with verve and authority, drawing on her extensive knowledge of the language, literature, social customs, and visual arts of the buildings for which they were designed and used.  MORE ... 

Austere Luminosity of Chinese Classical Furniture

Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

Chinese classical furniture is esteemed throughout the world for its beauty, functionalism, and influence on contemporary design aesthetics. Sarah Handler's stunningly illustrated volume traces Chinese hardwood furniture from its earliest origins in the Shang dynasty (c. 1500 to c. 1050 B.C.) to the present. She offers a fascinating and poetic view of Chinese furniture as functional sculpture, a fine art alongside the other Chinese arts of calligraphy, architecture, painting, and literature.  MORE...

Friends of the House: Furniture from China’s Towns and Villages, by Nancy Berliner and Sarah Handler.

Peabody-Essex Museum, 1995.

Friends of the House was written for the first exhibition of Chinese vernacular furniture made from softwoods, bamboo, and roots for the general populace.  Previously the focus had been on precious hardwood pieces made for the Chinese elite.  MORE...

Beyond the Screen: Chinese Furniture of the 16th and 17th Centuries, by Nancy Berliner with essays by Craig Clunas, Sarah Handler, and Wang Zhengshu.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1996.

Beyond the Screen was written for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to accompany an exhibition, which later became a permanent gallery in the museum.  The installation places domestic furniture in an evocative architectural setting and the book elucidates its craft, function, and status. MORE...

Beauty Revealed: Images of Women in Qing Dynasty China. Essays by James Cahill, Sarah Handler, and Julia M. White.  University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2013.

Beauty Revealed  proposes new ways of viewing and understanding the largely neglected and misunderstood genre of later Chinese painting known as “meiren hua,” beautiful women painting.  The book, published in conjunction with a groundbreaking exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum,  MORE...

Classic Chinese Furniture: Ming and Early Qing Dynasties, by Wang Shixiang.  Translated by Sarah Handler and the Author. 

Hong Kong: Joint Publishing Company, 1986.

Written by an authoritative furniture historian and collector, Wang Shixiang, this book provides beautiful color plates, basic knowledge, MORE...