The folding chair was popularized during the Song dynasty, from which period both round-back and square-back examples are in evidence. Traditional Chinese terms include both jiaoyi (crossed [leg] chair) and zhedieyi (folding chair).

The folding chair is constructed with crossed legs that are joined at their intersection with pivot hinges. A soft cord seat is woven unto the seat stretchers and can be folded. The legs extend through the back of the seat to support the backrest.

The collapsible folding chair was portable, and could be transported during travel or brought out to entertain guests. Elongated versions that could seated two or three persons were also suitable for an outing to watch an opera performances.

The folding chair was also popular with the Qing emperors, who maintained some of the traditions of the nomadic Manchu tribesmen and enjoyed outings to the countryside.