Chinese furniture: Corner-Leg Stool
‘Corner-leg’ types are divided into ‘flush-sided’ (simianping) and ‘waisted’ type. ‘Flush-sided’ types are box-like in form, and generally of austere style with minimal decoration. The ‘waisted’ style, with a narrow recess around the top, suggests an early architectural style that migrated from the West. As a dignified support, waisted platforms became associated with the seat of Buddha (xumizuo). The form was eventually assimilated by furniture-makers, and became a traditional style.
Since the Tang dynasty, large corner-leg stools were used as honorific seats for those of high rank, as well as by men and women of wealthy households. The quality and size of the stool reflects its broad range of use by commoners to aristocrats, and in seating arrangements designated hierarchical status.
It is the clarity of construction, the intervals between seat and stretcher, the just proportions of all the component parts, and restraint in ornament that make the best of these stools masterpieces of harmonious design.