Breathing New Life Into Chinese Carved Screens and Panels

Breathing New Life Into Chinese Carved Screens and Panels

As regular readers of our blog will know, here at Shimu we take great pride in using, where possible, reclaimed wood salvaged from disused buildings to make reproduction pieces. From wooden beams through joists and roof struts or doors from old farm buildings, China’s northern provinces provide a plentiful supply of superb quality timber that’s ideal for creating new furniture.

4 carved antique chinese fretwork panels

We also love breathing life into furniture and decorative objects from China’s long and fascinating past. Our range of original antiques includes an ever-changing selection of beautiful architectural pieces such as decorative panels and carved door lintels which showcase the natural beauty of wood and make superb decorative items in contemporary interiors. With this in mind, we thought we’d take a look at salvaged architectural elements from China and how it is possible to breathe new life into them once again.

Wooden window panels can still be seen today on Chinese buildings and were often used to provide privacy and to shield the interior and its occupants from the harsh glare of the summer sun, whilst allowing air to circulate. Rather than covering a glazed window as shutters do in the West, in China window panels were used to cover unglazed window openings, or to divide open-plan spaces or homes surrounding a central courtyard.

Carved Window Panel

The window panels found in the homes of the elite and wealthy would have boasted intricate carvings and highly detailed designs, often depicting scenes from traditional Chinese folktales, precious objects, or auspicious animals, for example. Created using the highest levels of skill and craftsmanship, these incredibly beautiful objects were carved from a single piece of wood, with each panel fitted together using traditional mortise and tenon joints. Offering a stunning example of what is now a dying art, ornately carved traditional Chinese wooden window panels make superb decorative features in contemporary homes and interiors.

Although they’re not strictly architectural features, wooden bed fascia panels also make exquisite wall-mounted decorative accessories. Originally forming part of a Chinese marriage bed, antique fascia panels would have formed part of a set of similar panels which would have surrounded all four sides of the bed. Decorated with auspicious symbols, images designed to provide protection against evil, or symbols for a long and happy marriage, today these unusual and stunning items are perfect for creating a visual focal point to a room.

Antique carved window panel

Decorative antique carved door lintels also offer a unique way to add a touch of interest to your interiors. Designed to embellish doorways in the homes of the wealthy, carved door lintels often feature ornate carvings in floral designs, patterns and symbols from nature. As with Chinese antiques in general, choosing unique antique architectural elements such as door lintels offers a wonderful way to bring an original piece of history into your home

Last and by no means least, the beautifully carved wooden panels which would have once been used as internal wall dividers are lovely pieces which now make enchanting wall panels. Often decorated with designs from the natural world, geometric patterns or folk-lore tales, carved lattice panels were widely used in the homes of the wealthy to create rooms within rooms and to instil a sense of privacy. Today they can be mounted on a wall to create an unusual and eye-catching statement which contrasts beautifully with a contemporary interior

Here at Shimu we are proud to offer a varied and ever-changing range of original antique architectural pieces sourced directly from China, alongside our collections of antique Chinese furniture and accessories. Our antique panels, for example, are made from a range of different woods including beech wood, camphor or elm. Varying in size, our collection offers a huge range of options ideal for decorating your home with original Chinese design.

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