Black Lacquer Feng Deng Stool

c. 1850
W: 14.5" D: 14.5" H: 13.0"
Northern Elmwood
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A precursor to modern minimalism, Ming dynasty furniture seamlessly coupled form and function, setting an aesthetic standard that would influence Chinese design for centuries. With an emphasis on clean lines, Ming designs frequently omitted excessive surface decoration in favor of austere silhouettes. This petite 19th-century feng deng, or "square stool," embodies the simplicity of the era with a rigid square form decorated only by hoof feet and subtle humpback stretchers. Constructed with mortise-and-tenon joinery, without the use of nails or screws, the balanced stool was then cloaked in an even layer of black lacquer to enhance its graphic impact.

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