Basic guide to recognizing Tibetan antique furniture – Part 1

“Tibetan” style furniture is a phrase used loosely and frequently items made just yesterday are placed side by side with items 50 or 80 years old. Of course, all are claimed to be real “Tibetan Furniture.” So when it comes to so called Tibetan” items, its important to know just what is is that you are actually purchasing and (hopefully) later on selling to your customers. So, without further ado, we will start off a series of posts to help you better understand and demonstrate the differences in the low end, the fake and even the good stuff!

comparison of new vs old panels on Tibetan cabinets

An comparison of styles

Part 1) Locally produced “Sudo-Tibetan Style:”

An example of what we can be called a newly-made, locally-produced Tibetan style sideboard.

Newly made Tibetan Cabinet

Characterized by very thick, raised-paintings in bright, primary colors, these pieces are often constructed from pine, southern elm or any other number of inexpensive softwoods. Finishing is relatively simple, with minimal attention to finer details. “Rough” is a good word to describe these pieces. But its important to point out that in reality, there is little about these (if anything) which could be considered “Tibetan” (other then the bright color scheme). A favorite with low-cost/high volume wholesalers & trading companies, they are usually “cranked-out” in high volume.

Newly made Tibetan samples

On the flip side, these pieces are inexpensive, contemporary, and make good accent pieces. Contemporary designs such as the magazine rack (in the examples shown above) make these easy to integrate into the home.

The stool in the samples shown here was listed as a “RARE Tibetan wood painted chair” from a seller on ebay. The magazine rack was from

Related Books & Reading

The Boy of the Painted CaveThe Boy of the Painted CaveTao is an outcast. Unlike the great hunters of his clan, Tao does not want to kill the wild bears or woolly mammoths of the hunt. Instead he wants onl... Read More >
Oriental Works of Art: Indian, Siamese and Tibetan Sculptures, Chinese Jades, Pottery and Porcelains, Furniture and Decorative Objects - Parke-Bernet Galleries Auction Sale #2360 Catalog, May 27, 1965Octavo, [23.5cm/9.25inches], paperbound with blue/yellow pictorial covers, pp. 52; 238 lots. Iluustrated w/ b-w halftones. Please feel free to inquire as to particulars and/or additional snapshots

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