Round Top Stool

c. 1900
W: 14.0" D: 14.0" H: 21.0"
Northern Elmwood
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Beginning in the Tang dynasty (618-906AD), stools emerged in China as a way to sit upright off the traditional platform that was used prior for reclining and crossed leg seating. Over time, every strata in Chinese society used stools—from officials in meetings to provincial fisherman at water’s edge. Easy to carry and move, a wooden stool was wonderfully versatile, and also frequently used by merchants peddling goods and services. They were designed in many forms and materials. This early 20th century example in yumu (Northern Chinese Elmwood) is constructed with traditional mortise and tenon joinery. Though simple in form, the stool is quite sophisticated—even the pegs that connect the legs to the solid plank top are expertly hidden. Symbolically, the side braces are stacked in the form of the Mandarin character for the number “2”.

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