The ultimate comprehensive english/Chinese dictionary of chinese furniture vocabulary and terms

I have seen this list floating around on the internet (though I have no idea where it originally came from). Though some terms are region-specific, its nevertheless very comprehensive with over 450 different terms.

Chinese Pinyin English
朵云双螭纹 duǒ yún shuāng chī wén Cloud surrounded by confronting dragons motif.

In order to make it a bit more user friendly I have a) added Hanyu pinyin pronunciations and b) reorganized the list itself according to specific categories. Trust me when I say this was no easy task! There are also links to pronunciation via the MDBG Chinese-English dictionary wordpress plugin. Though far from perfect, I hope this is a useful guide to anyone working with Chinese antique furniture. The list is broken down as follows:

Decorative Beading and Molding Names

Chinese Pinyin English
冰盘沿 bīng pán yán Ice-plate edge. General term for allinward-sloping mouldings.
打洼 dǎ Concave moulding; also called aomian or wamian.
灯草线 dēng cǎo xiàn Beading, a rounded moulding.Dengcao
瓜棱线 guā léng xiàn Melon-shaped moulding, a ridge-shaped moulding used on legs. (When the leg is seen in section, it resembles the section of a fluted melon.) It is often found on waistless square tables and round-corner cabinets. Also called
剑脊棱 jiàn jǐ léng Sword-ridge moulding. Moulding which slopes downwards from a central ridge. Lu Ban jing (Lu Ban’s Classic) calls it jianjixian.
拦水线 lán shuǐ xiàn Water-stopping moulding. High moulding around the edge of a table to prevent spilt water or wine from soiling the user’s clothes.
两柱香 liǎng zhù xiāng Two-incense-stick beading. Double row of beading down the centre of the leg of a recessed-leg table.
劈料 pī liào Split moulding. Convex moulding made from a single piece of wood which is usually divided evenly into two (also three or four in late Qing times) segments.
皮条线 pí tiáo xiàn Leather-strip moulding. Moulding which is rather flat and broad.
皮条线加洼儿 pí tiáo xiàn jiā wā ér Leather-strip moulding and beaded moulding with concave centre.
起边线 qǐ biān xiàn Edge beading.
双混面压边线 shuāng hún miàn yā biānxiàn Double convex moulding with flat edges.
甜瓜棱: tián guā léng Melon-shaped moulding. See瓜棱线.
洼面 wā miàn Concave moulding; also aomian or dawa.
委角线 wěi jiǎo xiàn Indented corner moulding.
线脚 xiàn jiǎo Moulding. General term for all types of moulding.
弦(xian)纹 xián (xian)wén String moulding, on round stools.
一炷香 yī zhù xiāng One-incense-stick beading. Single row of beading down the centre of the leg of a recessed-leg table.
凹面 āo miàn Concave moulding
亚边线 yà biān xiàn Flat edges of a moulding.
拧麻花 níng má huā Twisted rope pattern. Form of moulding resembling a fried dough twist; also called shengwen.
托腮 tuō sāi Stepped apron moulding. Term used in the Qing Regulations and by craftsmen for a moulding between the waist and the apron, which may be in one with the apron or made from a separate piece of wood.


Patterns, Designs and Motifs

Chinese Pinyin English
圆椅.曲尺栏杆 yuán yǐ .qǔ chǐ lán gān Railing decorated with carpenter’s-square lattice, which is in the shape of the square used by carpenters to make right angles.
十字枨 shízì chéng Crossed stretchers.
双套环卡子花 shuāng tào huán qiǎ zǐ huā Decorative strut in the form of double interlocking circles.
竹节纹 zhú jié wén Bamboo-shaped.
wan字栏杆 wanzì lán gān Endless wan motif railing. Railing decorated with continuous pattern of auspicious motifs based on the character wan.
草龙 cǎo lóng Curling limbed dragon. Stylized dragon pattern in which the legs and tail turn into curls, derived from the curling tendril design.
龙纹 lóng wén Dragon design.
双凤朝阳 shuāng fèng Cháo yáng Pair of phoenixes facing the sun.
宝塔纹 bǎo tǎ wén Pagoda pattern. Term used in Suzhou to describe the natural grain of beech.
罗杰 Luó​jié Roger Schwendeman – if you are reading this list on another website, its probably been recopied from the antique-chinese-furniture site.
波纹 bō wén Wave lattice. Term found in Yuan ye (The Art of the Garden) and also used for furniture.
缠枝莲纹 chán zhī lián wén Scrolling lotus design.
螭虎闹灵芝 chī hǔ nào líng zhī Hornless dragons inter-twined with Iingzhi fungus.
螭纹 chī wén Stylized hornless dragon design.
朵云双螭纹 duǒ yún shuāng chī wén Cloud surrounded by confronting dragons motif.
风车式 fēng chē shì Windmill lattice. Patterned on the shape of the windmill motif used in Chinese paper toys.
分心花 fēn xīn huā Dividing-the-heart motif, the cusp in the middle of an apron.
鼓钉 gǔ dīng Bosses, the nail motifs on a drum stool.
海棠式 hǎi táng shì Begonia-shaped.
回纹 huí wén Angular spirals, based on a motif resembling the archaic form of the character hui , repeated continuously.
井字棂格 jǐng zì líng gé Well lattice. Lattice of a design centred around the character jing. (well), and its variations.
吉祥草 jí xiáng cǎo Lucky grass. Leaves forming a round motif which is often found on a decorative strut.
卷草纹 juàn cǎo wén Curling tendril design.
灵芝纹 líng zhī wén Lingzhi fungus motif.
满面葡萄 mǎn miàn pútao Allover grape pattern. Term used in Gegu yaolun (The Essential Criteria of Antiquities) for the pattern on the burl of nan wood.
拧麻花 níng má huā Twisted rope pattern. Form of mould?ing resembling a fried dough twist; also called shengwen.
品字棂格 pǐn zì líng gé Alternating-square-openings lattice, the pattern resembling the character pin.
麒麟送子 qí lín sòng zǐ Boy riding a qilin, an auspicious motif used on wedding paraphernalia in the hope of its auguring the birth of a good child.
曲尺式 qǔ chǐ shì Carpenter’s-square lattice, in the shape of the square used by carpenters to make right angles.
绳纹 shéng wén Twisted rope pattern. Form of moulding resembling a fried dough twist; more commonly called ningmahua.
四簇云纹 sì cù yún wén Four-cloud motif, carved from a board or made by assembling the curved.
团螭纹 tuán chī wén Stylized hornless dragon design in medallion.
wan字 wan zì Wan motif. Auspicious motif based on the character wan.
斜wan字 xié wanzì Slanted wan motif.
仰俯莲纹 yǎng fǔ lián wén Up-and-down lotus flower design. Ornament consisting of two lotus blossoms, one upright and the other inverted, with the top of their petals touching.
仰俯山字 yǎng fǔ shān zì Up-and-down mountain design. Ornament consisting of two shun characters
云头纹 yún tóu wén Cloud-head design, a symmetrical motif.
云纹 yún wén Cloud design.
攒接 zǎn jiē Joining the straight. Term used for the method of making a lattice from short straight pieces of wood, placed vertically, horizontally, and sometimes diagonally, and mortised and tenoned together. The resulting lattice may have square or rounded corners.
斗簇围子 dǒu cù wéi zǐ Luohan bed railing lattice made by assembling the curved; or Luohan bed railing lattice made by assembling the curved together with joining the straight


Common Names of Chinese Furniture

Chinese Pinyin English
藤屉 téng tì Soft mat seat, made from woven cane. See also ruanti.
瘿木.隐襄 yǐng mù . yǐn xiāng Cushion.
矮面盆架 ǎi miàn pén jià Washbasin stand.
矮桌展腿式 ǎi zhuō zhǎn tuǐ shì Low table with extended legs. Low waisted table which is transformed into a high table by adding round extensionsto the square legs.
àn Recessed-leg table.
半桌 bàn zhuō Half table, slightly larger than half an eight Immortals [9ImR `tel] table.
宝座 bǎo zuò Throne, for emperor or god.
宝座式镜台 bǎo zuò shì jìng tái Throne-type mirror platform.
八仙桌 bā xiān zhuō Eight Immortals table. Square table suitable for seating eight people.
茶几 chá jī Tea table. High table derived from the Ming incense table and popular in Qing times.
长凳 cháng dèng Long bench, general term.
长方凳 cháng fāng dèng Rectangular stool.
朝衣柜 zhāo yī guì Court costume cabinet. Compound wardrobe in four parts with side panels. A kind of sijiangui with panels between the doors and outer frames which make the wardrobe wide enough for court costumes to be placed inside without being folded.
插屏式座屏风 chā píng shì zuò píngfeng Removable-panel screen set in a stand, the panel having tongues which can be slid in and out of grooves in the vertical pillars.
抽屉桌 chōu tì zhuō Narrow table with drawers.
chú Cabinet, southern term for gui, which is more current in the north.
chuáng Bed, which in China is used for daytime sitting as well as sleeping. General term for both large and small beds.
床衣镜 chuáng yī jìng Full-length mirror, a type derived from a screen set into a base which became popular during he Qing dynasty.
春凳 chūn dèng Large bench. In south China the term refers to a bench for two or more people. Northerners use this term only for a bench for more than two people.
搭板书案 dā bǎn shū àn Board and stand desk, consisting of a top resting on two separate stands with drawers which originally were not intended to be used apart from the table.
大方扛箱 dà fāng káng xiāng Large square box carried on a pole. Term used in Lu Ban jing (Lu Ban’s Classic) for a large picnic box.
dèng Stool. Also wudeng.
灯挂椅 dēng guà yǐ Lamp-hanger chair. Side chair wkh a high narrow bacic resembling the bamboo lamp hangers commonly used in south China.
顶箱立柜 dǐng xiāng lì jǔ Compound wardrobe in four parts, consisting of two lower cabinets and two upper cabinets; also called sijiangui.
地平 dì píng Platform. Large low wooden platform, usually square, placed in a room to hold furniture. When used for an alcove bed it is slightly larger than the bed. Very large ones are for a screen and throne.
都承盘 或 都丞盘 或 都盛盘 或都珍盘 dōu chéng pán  huò  dōu chéng pán  huò  dōu shèng pán  huò dōu zhēn pán Desk tray or desk treasure tray, for holding the treasures (the paraphernalia used in calligraphy and painting) on a scholar’s desk.
二人凳 èr rén dèng Two-seater bench.
方凳 fāng dèng Square stool.
方角柜 fāng jiǎo jǔ Square-corner cabinet. Usually a metal hinged cabinet with very little or no splay, and in which each of the four corners forms a right angle.
方桌 fāng zhuō Square table. Term refers to tables of various sizes.
扶手椅 fú shǒu yǐ Armchair.
甘蔗床 gān zhè chuáng Sugar-cane squeezer.
高面盆架 gāo miàn pén jià Washbasin stand with towel rack. The two back legs are extended to form the towel rack.
高桌 gāo zhuō High table.
供案 gōng àn Recessed-leg altar table.
供桌 gōng zhuō Corner-leg altar table.
官帽椅 guān mào yǐ Official’s hat armchair. Term includes the official’s hat armchair with four protruding ends and the southern official’s hat armchair. See also nanguanmaoyi.
官皮箱 guān pí xiāng Dressing case, usually having a base with drawers, which are often behind doors, and a top consisting of a lidded tray.
鼓墩 gǔ dūn Drum stool; also called zuodun.
jǔ Cabinet, northern term for chu, which is more current in the south.
柜塞 jǔ sāi One-drawer coffer, literally the plug between two cabinets, because the coffer is often placed between a pair of cabinets or compound wardrobes in four parts.
滚凳 gǔn dèng Roller stool. Stool with movable rollers, used to exercise the feet.
画案 huà àn Recessed-leg painting table. Large, wide rectangular table without drawers.
画桌 huà zhuō Corner-leg painting table, a large, wide rectangular table without drawers.
罗杰 Luó​jié Roger Schwendeman – if you are reading this list on another website, its probably been recopied from the antique-chinese-furniture site.
胡床 hú chuáng Barbarian seat. Earliest name for a cross-legged stool. It was imported from the west in the Eastern Han and is the ancestor of the folding stool and the folding armchair.
Narrow waistless table, each side of which usually consists of a board meeting the top at right angles.
嫁底 jià dǐ Trousseau coffer, a common name for a coffer since a bride’s trousseau was placed in it, tied with red strings, and carried to her new home.
架几案 jià jī àn Trestle table. Long table supported by two separate stands.
架几书案 jià jī shū àn Wide trestle writing table on stands with drawers.
降真香 jiàng zhēn xiāng Truth-bringing incense. A type of incense with which huanghuali wood is often compared in old texts.
脚床 jiǎo chuáng Footstool. Song dynasty name for the footstool in front of chairs and beds. Also jiaota and tachuang.
脚踏 jiǎo tà Footstool. Also jiaochuang and tachuang.
交杌 jiāo wù Folding stool; most commonly mazha.
交椅 jiāo yǐ Folding chair.
架子床 jiàzi chuáng Canopy bed.
接桌 jiē zhuō Extension table. When one Eight Immortals table is not enough, a table slightly larger than half its size, similar to a half table, is added to extend it.
镜架 jìng jià Mirror stand.
镜台 jìng tái Mirror platform.
镜箱 jìng xiāng Mirror box.
几腿架格 jī tuǐ jià gé Shelf supported by two separate stands.
酒桌 jiǔ zhuō Wine table. Small rectangular table used for wine and food.
kàng Chair-level bed, which is also sat on during the day, built-in against the wall of a room in north China. It is hollow and made of wood, bricks, or, in poorer house holds, unbaked clay with a brick top. Brick and clay kang can be heated from within. In the case of wooden kang which were used in the palace, the specially-made brick floor of the entire room was heated from underneath.
炕案 kàng àn Narrow recessed-leg kang table.
炕柜 kàng jǔ Kang cabinets. Pair of small cabinets placed on the kang.
炕几 kàng jī Narrow kang table, with either corner legs or solid board legs.
炕桌 kàng zhuō Wide kang table. The usual proportion of the long to the short sides is three to two.
靠背椅 kào bèi yǐ Side chair.
栲栳样 kǎo lǎo yàng Basket back. Song dynasty term referring to the armchair with circular armrest.
kunmen ‘an kunmen ‘an Large tables with ornamental openings on four sides. They existed as early as the Tang dynasty, as may be seen in, for example, the painting “The Court Musicians”.
kunmenchuang kunmenchuang Box-construction bed, having a box-like base with wide panels containing ornamental openings with cusped upper edges or a single panel with one cusped upper-edge opening
联二橱 lián èr chú Two-drawer coffer.
亮格 liàng gé Open shelf.
亮格柜 liàng gé jǔ Display cabinet, a cupboard with one or more open shelves.
联三橱 lián sān chú Three-drawer coffer.
六方椅 liù fāng yǐ Hexagonal-seat chair.
六仙桌 liù xiān zhuō Six Immortals table. Medium-sized square table.
六柱床 liù zhù chuáng Six-post canopy bed. Southern name for a canopy bed with front railings.
罗汉床 luóhàn chuáng Luohan bed. Bed with railings on three sides.
马闸 mǎ zhá Folding stool. Common term for jiaowu.
玫瑰椅 méiguī yǐ Rose chair. Small armchair with back and armrests at right angles to the seat. See also wenyi
闷户橱 mèn hù chú Coffer. General term for a coffer, which may have one, two or three drawers and hidden storage below.
门围子架子床 mén wéi zǐ jiàzi chuáng Canopy bed with front railings.
面盆架 miàn pén jià Washbasin stand. Term which includes both the simple washbasin stand and the washbasin stand with towel rack.
面条柜 miàntiáo jǔ Noodles cabinet. Common name for round-corner cabinet.
木轴门柜 mù zhóu mén jǔ Wood-hinged cabinet.
南官帽椅 nán guān mào yǐ Southern official’s hat armchair. Armchair whose back does not have protruding ends.
牛头式椅 niú tóu shì yǐ Ox head side chair. Chair whose top rail bends backwards resembling the horns of an ox.
拍子式镜台 pāi zi shì jìng tái Collapsible mirror platform.
屏风 píng fēng Screen. General term which includes folding screens and screens set in a stand.
屏风式镜台 píng fēng shì jìng tái Screen-type mirror platform.
平头案 píng tóu àn Flat-top narrow recessed-leg table, without everted flanges.
翘头案 qiáo tóu àn Recessed-leg table with everted flanges.
琴桌 qín zhuō Narrow rectangular table with corner legs; also tiaozhou. This is the moe common meaning of the term and refers to tables of various sizes. Also lute table, a small narrow rectangular table specially made for playing the lute.
七屏风式罗汉床 qī píng fēng shì luó hàn chuáng Luohan bed with seven-panel screen. Bed whose back and sides have seven panels.
气死猫 qìsǐ māo Food cupboard, for storing food and kitchen utensils, usually of unfinished wood with lattice on doors and sides. The name means literally vexing the cat.
棋桌 qí zhuō Chess table, with removable top under which there are usually a double-sided chess board and a board for playing the game of Double Sixes.
筌蹄 quán tí Hourglass-shaped stool.
圈椅 quān yǐ Armchair with curved rest; also
如意云抱鼓蕖花站牙 rúyì yún bào gǔ qú huā zhàn yá Shoe-foot with cloud ends, flower-patterned embracing drums, and standing spandrel. Term used in the Qing Regulations to describe the base of screens and lampstands.
三屏风式罗汉床 sān píng fēng shì luó hàn  chuáng Luohan bed with three-panel screen. Bed whose back and sides have three panels.
上折式交杌 shàng zhé shì jiāo wù Upward-folding stool.
扇面桌 shàn miàn zhuō Fan-shaped table. Two can be put together to form a hexagonal table.
食格 shí gé Food box. Term used in Lu Ban jing (Lu Ban’s Classic) for a medium-sized picnic box.
书案 shū àn Recessed-leg writing table with drawers.
书橱 shū chú Book cabinet, Suzhou name for a medium-sized round-corner cabinet.
书格 shū gé Book shelf, another name for shujia.
书架 shū jià Book shelf, another name for shuge.
书桌 shū zhuō Wide corner-leg writing table with drawers.
四出头官帽椅 sì chū tóu guān mào yǐ Armchair with four protruding ends.
四件柜 sì jiàn jǔ Compound wardrobe in four parts, con?sisting of two lower cabinets and two upper cabinets; also called dingxiang Iigui.
四仙桌 sì xiān zhuō Four Immortals table. Small square table suitable for four.
四柱床 sì zhù chuáng Four-post canopy bed.
Daybed, a light bed without railing.
踏床 tà chuáng Footstool, a Song dynasty term. Also jiaochuang and jiaota.
绦环板 tāo huán bǎn Ornamental panel.
条案 tiáo àn Narrow rectangular table with recessed legs.
条凳 tiáo dèng Long narrow bench.
条几 tiáo jī Waistless narrow rectangular table, usually made from three thick boards meeting at right angles.
条桌 tiáo zhuō Narrow rectangular table with corner legs. See also qinzhuo.
提盒 tí hé Hand-carried box. Term used by Beijing crafts-men for a small picnic box.
万历柜 wàn lì jǔ Wanli display cabinet. Display cabinet consisting of a cupboard with open shelf above, resting on a separate low stand. Also called Wanli ge.
围屏 wéi píng Folding screen.
文椅 wén yǐ Writing chair. Southern name for rose chair. See meiguiyi.
wu杌凳 wuwù dèng Stool. Term more commonly used in north China than deng.
五抹(mo)门 wǔ mǒ momén Door with five horizontal members.
五屏风式罗汉床 wǔ píng fēng shì luó hàn chuáng Luohan bed with five-panel screen. Bed whose back and sides have five panels.
xiāng Chest.
香几 xiāng jī Incense stand.
小箱 xiǎo xiāng Small chest.
绣墩 xiù dūn Embroidery stool, another name for zuodun and gudun (drum stool).
须弥座 xū mí zuò Buddhist pedestal, a waisted pedestal.
砚屏 yàn píng lnkstone screen.
药箱 yào xiāng Medicine chest.
yǐ Chair
椅凳 yǐ dèng Seat.
一封书式 yī fēng shū shì One-part square-corner cabinet. Type of square-corner cabinet, resembling in shape a case ( ) of traditional Chinese books.
衣架 yījià Clothes rack.
硬挤门 yìng jǐ mén Cabinet without a central removable stile.
硬屉 yìng tì Hard seat. Category of seats which includes wooden and hard mat seats.
圆凳 yuán dèng Round stool.
圆后背交椅 yuán hòu bèi jiāo yǐ Folding chair with curved rest.
圆角柜 yuán jiǎo jǔ Round-corner cabinet. Splayed wood cabinet with hinged doors and rounded-edged top which protrudes beyond the side posts.
圆椅 yuán yǐ Armchair with curved rest. Term used in Sancai tu hui (Pictorial Encyclopaedia of Heaven, Earth and Man) for 圈椅.
月洞式大床 yuè dòng shì dà chuáng Large bed with full-moon opening.
月牙桌 yuè yá zhuō Half-moon table.
折叠式镜台 zhé dié shì jìng tái Folding mirror platform.
折叠式面盆架 zhé dié shì miàn pén jià Folding washbasin stand.
折叠榻 zhé dié tà Folding daybed.
枕凳 zhěn dèng Bench-shaped pillow.
枕屏 zhěn píng Pillow screen. Small screen placed on beds.
直后背交椅 zhí hòu bèi jiāo yǐ Folding side chair.
zhuō Corner-leg table.
桌案 zhuō àn Tables. Term referring to both corner-leg and recessed-leg tables.


Hinges, Pulls and Metal Hardware

Chinese Pinyin English
金属饰件 jīn shǔ shì jiàn Metalwork ornaments.
卧槽平镶 wò cáo píng xiāng Flush metalwork.
吊牌 diào pái Metal pull.
合页 hé yè Metal hinge.
护眼线 hù yǎn xiàn Hole-protecting coin, a round coin-shaped metal disc used between the metal pivot and the surface of a piece of furniture as a protective device device against abrasion.
拉手 lā shǒu Pull, of any shape.
面叶 miàn yè Face plate. Large back plate for pulls and pierced knobs.
扭鼻 niǔ Lock knob. Knob with a hole through which the rod of a lock passes. Also
钮头 niǔ tóu Pierced knob. Metal knob with hole through which a lock or securing rod passes; found on boxes and cabinets.
拍子 pāizi Hasp. Hinged racket-shaped metal plate usually used to fasten the lid of a chest.
锁鼻 suǒ See 钮鼻 Lock knob. Knob with a hole through which the rod of a lock passes.
琐销 suǒ xiāo Lock tongue. The. bolt of a lock which en?gages with the lock receptacle to secure a drawer.
轴钉 zhóu dīng Metal pivot, the metal rod put through the legs of a folding chair as a pivot.
提环 tí huán Handle.


Chinese Joinery Names And Types

Chinese Pinyin English
格肩榫 gé jiān sǔn Double-mitred tenon.
齐肩膀 qí jiānbǎng Straight shoulder joint. The T-shaped joint of two members, so called because the tenon-bearing piece has a straight edge and is not mitred.
齐牙条 qí yá tiáo Unmitred joint of apron and leg. The joint used in the form of waisted table in which the two ends of the aprons meet the legs in vertical lines.
抱肩榫 bào jiān sǔn Embracing-shoulder tenon. A mitred joint used in waisted furniture of the corner-leg construc-tion to attach the leg and apron. A concealed triangular-shaped tenon in the apron fits into a mortise in the leg. Simultaneously a concealed long and vertical dovetailed tenon slides into a mortise in the apron.
边簧 biān huáng Tongue, on four sides of the floating panel of a table top.
边抹 biān mǒ Square or rectangular frame, consisting of two sides with tenons and two sides with mortises (.榫眼matou).
插肩榫 chā jiān sǔn Inserted shoulder joint. One of the essential joints of the recessed-leg construction. The upper part of the leg is split to form two tenoned pieces; the front one is made shoulder-like so that it can be inserted into cavities in the apron. When the joint is in place the surfaces of leg and apron are flush.
穿带 chuān dài Penetrating transverse brace, which fits into a groove in the floating panel.
攒牙子 zǎn yá zǐ Apron or apron and spandrel made by joining the straight.
攒边打槽装板 zǎn biān dǎ cáo zhuāng bǎn Assembling a mortised-and-tenoned frame with floating panel. This is done by first making a groove all around the inner edge of the frame and then inserting the tongue of the panel.
罗杰 Luó​jié Roger Schwendeman – if you are reading this list on another website, its probably been recopied from the antique-chinese-furniture site.
大边 dà biān Tenon-bearing frame member. If the frame is rectangular the term refers to the two long pieces with tenons; if square, it indicates the two tenon-bearing members; if round, each piece is called a dabian.
dài Transverse brace, which always connects the tenon-bearing frame members. General term which includes the penetrating transverse brace and the curved transverse brace.
带口 dài kǒu Dovetailed groove for the penetrating trans-verse brace on the back of a floating panel.
斗簇 dǒu cù Assembling the curved, a term for the method of making a lattice unit from large or small curved pieces of wood joined together by loose tenons.
勾挂垫榫 gōu guà diàn sǔn Hook-and-plug tenon joint, used to attach a giant’s arm brace to the leg. The slightly hooked tenon is secured in the mortise by a small block of wood placed beneath it.
挂销 guà xiāo Hanger tenon. Dovetail-shaped tenon on the top of a leg on which to hang the apron, usually as long as the apron.
活销 huó xiāo Loose tenon.
假三上 jiǎ sān shàng Pseudo thrice attached. See zhenliangshang.
夹头榫 jiā tóu sǔn Elongated bridle joint. This and the inserted shoulder joint are the two basic joints of the recessed-leg construction. The top of the leg has tenons, fitting into mortises in the tenon-bearing frame of the top, and a slot, into which the apron and apron-head spandrel can be inserted. Sometimes there are false elongated bridlejoints, with the outward appearance of an elongated bridle joint but constructed in other ways.
臼窝 jiù wō Door pivot mortise.
龙凤榫 lóng fèng sǔn Tongue-and-groove joint, in which a long dovetail-shaped mortise and tenon is used to join two long boards. Literally dragon-and-phoenix joint.
抹头 mǒ tóu Mortise-bearing frame member. If the frame is rectangular the term refers to the two short pieces with mortises; if square, it indicates the pieces with mortises. On the thick top boards of most trestle tables there is a matou at each end but no tenon-bearing frame member. In this instance the tenons, and sometimes also a tongue, are on the top board itself. Sometimes an everted flange is made from the same piece of wood. Also a short horizontal frame member, connecting the two long verfical members of a screen, partition or door.
闷榫 mèn sǔn Hidden tenon.
门轴 mén zhóu Door pivot of a round-corner cabinet. It is the tenon-bearing frame member of the door extended outward, upward and downward to fit into mortises in the top and the stretcher below.
面心 miàn xīn Floating panel, inset in a frame.
明榫 míng sǔn Exposed tenon.
榫槽 sǔn cáo Groove, such as that in which the tongue of a floating panel is inserted.
榫卯 sǔn mǎo Mortise and tenon.
楔(xie)钉榫 xiē (xie)dīng sǔn Peg tenon joint, used on curved members.
银锭榫 yín dìng sǔn Dovetailed tenon.
栽榫 zāi sǔn Planted tenon. Tenon which is not made from the same piece of wood as the member but is a separate piece fitted into the member.
扎榫 zhā sǔn Slide lock tenon. Southern name for zouma-xiao (running horse tenon).
粽角榫 zòng jiǎo sǔn Mortise-and-tenon joint at which three square members meet at one corner. Name derived from the resemblance of the joint to the corners of parcels of sticky rice wrapped in leaves which are eaten at the Dragon Boat Festival.
走马销 zǒu mǎ xiāo Running horse tenon. Planted tenon which is tapered and stepped at one end. It is inserted in the larger end of the mortise and slid to the smaller end, thereby locking the joint. To separate the two members the tenon must be pushed back to the large end of the mortise. See also zasun.


Legs and Feet Descriptions

Chinese Pinyin English
侧脚 cè jiǎo Splayed legs. Term borrowed from ancient architecture (where it describes the splay of pillars at the base) to describe the slight splay of furniture legs at their base.
鼓腿 gǔ tuǐ Bulging leg.
鼓腿彭牙 gǔ tuǐ péng yá Convex apron and bulging leg ending in a horse-hoof foot. Term used by Beijing cabinetmakers and in the Qing Regulations.
亮脚 liàng jiǎo Brightening-the-feet opening, found on the bottom of chair splats, and under folding screens and railings of Luohan beds.
马蹄 mǎ Horse-hoof foot, which may be inward or outward curving.
马蹄边 mǎ tí biān Horse-hoof edge.
撇腿 piě tuǐ Frontward-curving legs; also called xianglutui (incense burner legs).
蜻蜓腿 qīng tíng tuǐ Dragonfly leg, the long slender cabriole legs of incense stands.
三弯腿 sān wān tuǐ Cabriole leg, an S-shaped leg ending in an outward-curving horse-hoof foot.
外翻马蹄 wài fān mǎ Outward-curving horse-hoof foot. Type of foot which often terminates a cabriole leg.
香炉腿 xiāng lú tuǐ Frontward-curving legs in the manner of legs on incense burners; also called 撇腿.
挖缺 wā quē Carpenter’s-square leg. Leg from which about one-half is cut away from the inside so that in cross-section it resembles a carpenter’s square. This type of leg preserves more traces of the platform construction than legs terminating in horse-hoof feet.
直足 zhí zú Straight leg. Leg without a horse-hoof foot.
抱鼓 bào gǔ Embracing drums. The drum-shaped elements at the top of a shoe-foot used to hold the spandrels of screens, clothes racks and lampstands in position.


Lacquers, Inlays, and Wood Carving Names

Chinese Pinyin English
浮雕 fúdiāo Relief carving.
浮雕透雕结合 fú diāo tòu diāo jiéhé Relief and openwork carving. Term used when both types of decoration occur in a single piece.
开光 kāi guāng Medallion, which may be empty or filled with carving or a recessed wood or stone panel.
断纹 duàn wén Crack patterns, the fortuitous designs formed of small cracks on the surface of aged lacquer.
半槽地 bàn cáo dì Half-and-half relief. The most common type of relief carving with relief and ground occupying about the same amount of space.
铲地浮雕 chǎn dì fú diāo Relief carving on smoothed ground.
雕刻 diāo kè Carving.
剑脊线践金 jiàn jǐ xiàn jiàn jīn Gold designs hammered into iron.
践银 jiàn yín Silver designs hammered into iron.
锦地浮雕 jǐn dì fú diāo Relief carving on diaper ground.
款彩 kuǎn cǎi The technique often used to decorate folding screens whereby lacquer is applied overall to a flat surface, and in areas within the outlines of the design a layer of lacquer is dug out and the resulting cavity is filled in with coloured lacquer or oil paint. Term used in Xiushilu (A Record qf Lacquer Art) for what antique dealers call dadiaotian.大雕填 In the West, such pieces were known first as Bantam work, after the Dutch East India Company’s port in Java, and from the 19th century as Coromandel lacquer, after the port on the southeast coast of India.
两面做 liǎng miàn zuò Double-faced openwork, on which the carving is finished to the same degree on both sides.
披麻灰 pī má huī fabric-wrapped and lacquered, a very old Chinese lacquering technique
平地 píng dì Smoothed ground of an area with relief decoration.
透雕 tòu diāo Openwork carving.
圆雕 yuán diāo Three-dimensional carving.
镶嵌 xiāng qiàn Inlay.
百宝嵌 bǎi bǎo qiàn One-hundred- precious-material inlay.
螺钿嵌 luó diàn qiàn Mother-of pearl inlay; also qian-luodian.
木嵌 mù qiàn Wood inlay.
锁鼻牛毛断 suǒ bí niú máo duàn Ox hair crack pattern, found on the surface of aged lacquer.
嵌螺钿 qiàn luó diàn Mother-of-pearl inlay; also luodian?qian.
牙嵌 yá qiàn Ivory inlay.


Woods and Materials Names

Chinese Pinyin English
包镶 bāo xiāng Complete veneer, a hardwood veneer covering the entire piece of furniture.
鳔胶 biào jiāo Fish glue, the best cabinetmaker’s glue made from the air bladder of the yellow croaker fish.
鬼面 guǐ miàn Devil’s face. Term used in Gegu yaolun (The Essential Criteria of Antiquities) to describe a particular formation in the grain of huanghuali wood.
软屉 ruǎn tì Soft mat seat made of cane, palm or woven silk, for stools, chairs and beds. See also tengti.
大理石 dà lǐ shí Marble, and in particular Dali marble, from Mount Diancang 点苍 in the Dali District of Yunnan Province.
大叶榆 dà yè yú Large leaf elm, a kind of ju wood; also called juyu.
灯草 dēng cǎo are rushes used as lampwicks.
斗柏楠 dǒu bǎi nán Burl of nan wood; also toubainan, the term used in Gegu yaolun (The Essential Criteria of Antiquities).
海南檀 hǎinán tán Daltergia hainanensis, the scientific name previously given to huanghuali wood.
红木: hóng mù Hong wood. There are two kinds. old hong wood was the principal hardwood used by furniture makers from mid Qing times to the first quarter of the 20th century, and new hong wood is one of the main hardwoods used by furniture factories today.
花梨 huā lí Huali wood, Ormosia henryi. One of the main hardwoods used for furniture after the mid Qing dynasty.
花榈 huā lǘ Huali wood. Pre-Ming way of writing the term which at that time referred mainly to huanghuali wood.
降香黄檀 jiàng xiāng huáng tán Huanghuali wood, Dalbergia odorifera, new name given by Cheng Junqing.
jichi wood. jichi wood. Hardwood with purplish-brown patterns, belonging to the Ormosia family.jichimuChicken-wing wood, another name for jichi wood
罗杰 Luó​jié Roger Schwendeman – if you are reading this list on another website, its probably been recopied from the antique-chinese-furniture site.
椐木 jū mù Ju wood, ancient simplifled form of ju Zelkova schneideriana, one of the semi-hard furniture woods imported in the Ming dynasty; known as southern elm in north China.
榉榆 jǔ Large leaf elm, a kind ofju wood; also called dayeyu
laojichimu laojichimu Old jichi wood.
南柏 nán bǎi Southern cypress.
蝻木 nǎn mù Nan wood, Phoebe nanmu.
楠榆 nán yú Ju wood, name used in the north.
蔷薇木 qiángwéi mù Rosewood, Pterocarpus indicus, another name for one type of zitan wood.
杞梓木 qǐ zǐ A variant name of jichimu.
铁力木(铁梨木/铁栗木) Tiě lì mù tiě lí mù /tiě lì mù Tieli wood, Mesua ferrea. Wood which resembles jichi wood but which is slightly inferior in colour and grain.
骰柏楠 tóu bǎi nán Burl of nan wood. Term used in Gegu yaolun (The Essential Criteria Antiquities). Also doubainan.
乌木 wūmù Ebony.
相思木 xiāng sī mù Alternative name for jichi wood, some-times translated as boxwood.
血榉 xiě jǔ Blood ju wood, a kind of ju wood which is reddish and comes from old trees.
新花梨 xīn huā lí New huali wood. See huali.
新鸡翅木 xīn jī chì mù New jichi wood. See jichimu.
一块玉 yīkuài yù Solid piece of jade. Term used to describe a single piece of wood for the top of a piece of furniture, especially a trestle table or narrow rectangular table with recessed legs.
瘿木 yǐng mù Burl wood.
影木 yǐng mù Shadow wood, another name for burl wood.
瘿子 yǐng zǐ Burl wood, alternative name for
银杏 yín xìng Ginkgo wood, Ginkgo biloba.
紫檀 zǐ tán Zitan wood, Pterocarpus santalinus. Purplish wood, one of the most important furniture woods.
柞木 zuò mù Zuo wood, Quercus dentata. Type of oak which is semi-hard and yellowish-brown in colour, with grain lines a few centimetres long and pointed at both ends.
黄花梨 huáng huā lí Huanghuali wood, Dalbergia odorifera, the principal hardwood used for furniture from mid Ming until the first part of the Qing dynasty.
黄杨 huáng yáng Boxwood, Buxus microphylia, a dense yellowish wood.


Names of Decorative Openings

Chinese Pinyin English
zuo火门 zuo huǒ mén Opening with cusped upper edge. Term used by Beijing craftsmen because of the resemblance of the opening to that of a country stove.
kunmen kunmen Ornamental openings or medallions with cusped upper edges. In the Tang and Song dynasties these often appear on the platform construction and on Buddhist pedestals.
炮仗筒 pào zhàng tǒng Fire-cracker-shaped opening. Southern craftsmen’s name for a kind of yumendong opening which is the shape of a long oval and used as a motif on the waist.
月亮门 yuèliàng mén Full-moon opening.
鱼门洞 yú mén dòng Decorative opening, generally found on the waist. General term which includes different specific shapes such as rectangular openings with stepped corners and the long oval openings referred to as paozhangtong. Term used in the Qing Regulations, and more popular in south China.

Other Specialized Terms and Words

Chinese Pinyin English
步步高 赶枨 bù bù gāo  gǎn chéng Stepped chair stretchers. Chair stretchers which are arranged with the front one lowest, the side ones higher, and the back one highest, so that the joints do not overlap.
斗拱式 dǒu gǒng shì Bracket model, a type of spandrel inspired by architectural members.
两卷相抵 liǎng juàn xiāng dǐ Abutting curls. Pair of back-to-back curls, often found on spandrels and stretchers.
罗锅枨加矮老 luō guō chéng jiā ǎi lǎo Humpbacked stretcher with pillar-shaped struts.
罗锅枨加卡子花 luō guō chéng jiākǎ zǐ huā Humpbacked stretcher with decorative struts.
三接 sān jiē Three joined pieces. Term referring to the curved rest of an armchair formed of three pieces of wood with two joints.
四面平式 sì miàn píng shì Straight form. Term used to describe furniture with straight flat sides derived from the box construction.
折枝花 zhé zhī huā Floral sprays.
卷书 juàn shū Scroll termination. Termination which appears on the sides of narrow waistless tables and splats or top rails of chairs. The term refers to the resemblance of the termination to a soft book when rolled up.
披水牙子 pī shuǐ yá zǐ Slanted apron. Craftsmen’s term derived from architectural masonry; used on screens and late Cantonese furniture.
券口 quàn kǒu Arch-shaped inner frame. Three-sided frame usually found under the seat of a chair or on open shelves.
券口牙子 quàn kǒu yá zǐ Arch-shaped apron, beneath the seat of a chair.
五接 wǔ jiē Five joined pieces. Term applied to curved rest of an armchair formed of five pieces of wood with four joints.
牙头 yá tóu Apron-head spandrel. Spandrel attached to the apron.
一腿三牙 yī tuǐ sān yá Three spandrels to one leg. Type of corner where one leg joins two apron-head spandrels and an additional spandrel along the outer edge.
一腿三牙罗锅枨 yī tuǐ sān yá luō guō chéng Three spandrels to one leg and a humpbacked stretcher. A feature that commonly occurs on a type of square table.
挂牙 guà yá Hanging spandrel. Spandrel whose length is greater than its width, and which narrows towards its lower edge.
联帮棍 lián bāng gùn Side posts of an armchair, literally the handle of a sickle; also liandaoba.
镰刀把 liándāo bǎ Side posts of an armchair, usually slightly curved and upward tapering; also lianbanggun.
柜帽 jǔ mào Cabinet’s cap, the top of a round-corner cabinet which protrudes beyond the side posts to allow for the wood hinged construction and which usually has rounded edges.
裹腿枨 guǒ tuǐ chéng Leg-encircling stretcher. Stretcher continuing around the entire circumference of a piece, passing over the outside edges of the legs.
耗子尾 hào zǐ wěi Upward-tapering member, such as the side posts of an armchair.
横拐子 héng guǎi zǐ Short horizontal members on the base of a washbasin stand.
荷叶托 hé yè tuō Lotus-leaf support, often occurring on mirror stands.
交圈 jiāo quān Continuous flow. The continuous connec-tion (upwards, downwards, sideways) of mouldings or the surfaces of different members in order to give the piece of furniture a unified appearance. This term is also used by architects and other craftsmen, especially for four-sided and curved forms.
木梳背 mù shū bèi Comb-back, the back of a chair having many vertical straight rods under the top rail.
彭牙 péng yá Outward-curving apron.
闩杆 shuān gān Central removable stile, between two doors of a cabinet.
托泥 tuō ní Continuous floor stretcher, to the top of which the legs are joined and below which there are separate small feet.
托子 tuō zǐ Side floor stretcher. Stretcher on the short sides of a table with recessed legs. At each end are usually low feet which are sometimes separate pieces of wood attached with glue.
罗杰 Luó​jié Roger Schwendeman – if you are reading this list on another website, its probably been recopied from the antique-chinese-furniture site
外刷槽 wài shuā cáo Floating panel with lowered edges on the outside. Panel which slopes gently towards the sides in order to retain a certain thickness and at the same time to allow it to fit into the grooves of the frame. It is often used in floating panels with raised centres.
弯带 wān dài Curved transverse brace, used under a soft mat seat.
挖堂肚 wā táng dù Lowered centre apron, often found on chairs with an arched apron.
着地管脚枨 zháo dì guǎn jiǎo chéng Floor base stretcher. Combination of the base stretcher and side floor stretchers on recessed-leg tables.
攒边装板围子 zǎn biān zhuāng bǎn wéi zǐ Railing of a Luohan bed consisting of frames with inset panels.
攒接围子 zǎn jiē wéi zǐ Bed railing made by joining the straight.
真两上 zhēn liǎng shàng Twice attached. Term used when the waist and apron are made of two separate pieces of wood. Also refers to the method of construction whereby the apron and the apron moulding are made from a single piece of wood and the waist from another piece of wood. Used interchangeably with jiasanshang.
真三上 zhēn sān shàng Thrice attached. Method of construc-tion whereby the waist, stepped apron moulding and apron are each made from a separate piece of wood. Most post-Qianlong period furniture is made by this method of construction, which is not as strong as the twice-attached method.
cǎi Lowering the surface of the wood. General term popular among craftsmen.
倒棱 dǎo léng Rounding the edges. Procedure done to soften the sharp edges of a member.
赶枨 gǎn chéng Changing the level of stretchers, in order to spread out the mortises. The term usually refers to the lower stretchers of chairs.
dǒu Assembly of more than two members.
zǎn To join.
塌腰 tā yāo Sag. Condition caused when the top of a piece of furniture droops due to overloading. Occurs mostly in long pieces of furniture of inferior material and craftsmanship.
边框 biān kuàng Frame.
矮老 ǎi lǎo Pillar-shaped strut.
霸王枨 bà wáng chéng Giant’s arm brace, extending from the leg to the underside of the table top at a 45° angle.
鹅脖 é bó Gooseneck front posts. Curved posts of an armchair which are often made from the same piece of wood as the front legs.
高拱罗锅枨 gāo gǒng luō guō chéng High humpbacked stretcher. Stretcher which often appears on the type of table with three spandrels to one leg and on rectangular tables with recessed legs.
高束腰 gāo shù yāo High waist. On some examples the influence of a Buddhist pedestal is still discernible.
裹腿做 guǒ tuǐ zuò Leg-encircling.
攒斗 zǎn dǒu Latticework. Literally joining the straight and assembling the curved, two methods of making lattice. General term which is a contraction of cuanjie and doucu.
搭脑 dā nǎo Top rail. Highest rail on the back of a chair. The term also refers to the highest horizontal member of any frame, such as a clothes rack or towel rack.
挡板 dǎng bǎn Inset panel on a recessed-leg table with side panels. It usually has openwork carving finished on both sides and sits on a side floor stretcher or base stretchers.
地枨 dì chéng Lowest stretcher on a cabinet.
顶箱 dǐng xiāng Upper part of a compound wardrobe in four parts.
独板面 dú bǎn miàn Solid board top, found most often on narrow rectangular tables with recessed legs, trestle tables, and benches whose top is not made with a frame.
独板围子 dú bǎn wéi zǐ Solid board railing.
扶手 fú shǒu Arms of a chair.
甜瓜棱.管脚枨 tián guā léng .guǎn jiǎo chéng Base stretcher, a bar placed just above the feet of a piece of furniture to hold the legs in position.
挂檐 guà yán Canopy lattice, around the top of a canopy bed.
混面 hún miàn Convex surface or moulding. Term used in Yingzao fashi (Building Standards) and by cabinetmakers today. Also called gaimian and tumian.
平装 píng zhuāng Flush; also pingxiang.
卡子花 qiǎ zǐ huā Decorative strut.
圈口 quān kǒu Four-sided inner frame.
束腰 shù yāo Waist. Inset panel between the top and the apron.
销钉 xiāo dīng Wood or bamboo nail.
牙条 yá tiáo Apron.
暗抽屉 àn chōu tì Hidden drawers, opened by raising from underneathrather than with a pull.
抽屉脸 chōu tì liǎn Front of a drawer.
床围子 chuáng wéi zǐ Railing on Luohan and canopy bed.
围子 wéi zǐ Seat railing, on beds and chairs.
椅圈 yǐ quān Curved rest of a chair.
余塞板 yú sāi bǎn Outer panel. Panel between the door and outer frame of a cabinet.
zhuàng Tiers. Southern term.
仔框 zǐ kuàng Inner frame.
柜帮 jǔ bāng Side of a cabinet. Craftsmen’s term.
柜膛 jǔ táng Hidden compartment, occupying the space below the door and above the bottom board of a cabinet.
架格 jià gé Shelf; also屉板.
看面 kàn miàn Front, literally the show side of a piece of furniture or one of its members.
栏杆 lángān Railing.
落堂 luò táng Recessed.
闷仓 mèn cāng Hidden storage, in a coffer.
平几 píng jī Armrest.
扇活 shàn huó Completed part. General term applicable to all kinds of structures.
屉板 tì bǎn Shelf; also 架格.
透光 tòu guāng Opening.
盖面 gài miàn Convex surface or moulding. Term used in Yingzao fashi (Building Standards) and by cabinetmakers today; also called hunmian and tumian.
格肩 gé jiān Mitre; single or double.
横枨 héng chéng Side stretcher, on rectangular tables.
角牙 jiǎo yá Spandrel.
靠背 kào bèi Back of chair or throne, either splat or whole back.
落堂踩鼓 luò táng cǎi gǔ Floating panel with raised centre and recessed sides, so that despite its thickness it will still fit into the grooves of the frame. It is most often found on pieces dating from the mid Qing dynasty and later.
立柜 lì jǔ Lower part of a compound wardrobe in four parts.
立柱 lì zhù Post.
罗锅枨 luō guō chéng Humpbacked stretcher.
门柱 mén zhù Door pillars, the two pillars on the front of the alcove of a canopy bed.
喷面式 pēn miàn shì Protruding top.
平镶 píng xiāng Flush. Term referring, on furniture, to the relationship between the floating panel and its frame or between metalwork and the surrounding wood surface. Also pingzhuang.
屏心 píng xīn Central panel of a screen set in a stand.
翘头 qiáo tóu Everted flange.
雀替 què tì Bracket, architectural term for a weight-bearing member which has some similarities with the apron on furniture. See also tatou.
踏脚枨 tà jiǎo chéng Footrest stretcher, usually referring to the front stretcher of a chair. When used in the context of a stool, it refers to the base stretcher.
塌头 tā tóu Bracket. Term used in Yingzao fashi (Building Standards) for what was called queti in Qing times.
凸面 tū miàn Convex surface or moulding. Term used in Yingzao fashi (Building Standards) and by cabinetmakers today; also called gaimian and hunmian.
无束腰 wú shùyāo Waistless. Type of furniture without inset panel between the top and the apron, a tradition derived from wooden architectural construction.
牙子 yá zǐ Apron and spandrels. General term which includes aprons, apron-head spandrels, spandrels and hanging spandrels.
有束腰 yǒu shùyāo Waisted. Type of furniture with inset panel between the top and the apron, tradition derived from Buddhist pedestals.
站牙 zhàn yá Standing spandrel. Any two spandrels facing each other against a post, such as those found on stands, clothes racks and screens.
直枨 zhí chéng Straight stretcher.
中牌子 zhōng páizi Central panel of a clothes rack or washbasin stand with towel rack. Cabinetmakers’ term.
装板 zhuāng bǎn Panel tongued-and-grooved into a frame. Panel may be flush or recessed.
子口 zǐ kǒu Indented box lid. Box lid which has a narrow indentation along its inner edge; the edge of the box has a wider indentation along its outer edge so that the lid can be securely closed.
枨子 chéng zǐ Stretcher. Member used mainly to connect two legs.
抽屉架 chōu tì jià Drawer frame, put inside a cabinet or shelf to hold the drawers.
吊头 diào tóu Protruding end. The part of the top of recessed-leg table which extends beyond the leg towards the sides.
墩子 dūn zǐ Shoe-foot. Horizontal, usually bridge-shaped, piece of wood supporting a vertical member of a screen, clothes rack or lampstand. It tends to be large and includes the embracing drum.
垛边 duǒ biān Frame-thickening inserts. Separate pieces of wood added, mainly for aesthetic reasons, beneath the four sides of a frame of a table top in order to increase its height. They are commonly found on tables and stools, often on the type with leg-encircling stretcher, or with three spandrels to one leg, and a humpbacked stretcher. The inserts are less deep than the frame members and thus give the illusion of a thick frame without having its weight.


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