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Redwood Furniture and the Wooden Complex of Chinese People

The concept of rosewood and rosewood furniture, which was rarely known 10 years ago, has now become widely known, reflecting the evolution of values in this era and the cultural retro mentality of Chinese people after material abundance. From a usage perspective, solid wood furniture is much better than panel furniture; Compared to ordinary solid wood, mahogany is much better. And mahogany has been endowed with historical and cultural connotations, artistic and aesthetic connotations, and is expensive. After meeting practical requirements, it can also achieve spiritual satisfaction, so people flock to it – they can’t afford to use yellow pear furniture, but can wear a yellow pear bracelet; Can’t buy rosewood furniture, first play with a rosewood pen holder; Yellow and purple rare goods are affordable, so let’s start with red sour branches… Even marginalized industry insiders like me who have been watching from the sidelines for years have gradually become drawn into the ranks of red wood enthusiasts. Looking back, if the study furniture I bought was really red wood, it should have appreciated by more than 10 times. This also explains from another perspective why there are more and more people who like mahogany.


Redwood furniture has been extensively produced and used in China for four to five hundred years. Since the Longqing and Wanli years of the Ming Dynasty, yellow pear and red sandalwood furniture have become exclusive luxury items for the royal family. Huanghua pear is produced in Hainan and Annan (present-day Vietnam), while red sandalwood is produced in India. There is a saying that red sandalwood was brought back from the bottom of the ballast when Ming treasure voyages returned from his voyages to the West, which is now controversial, but there are two undeniable points: one is that the origin of red sandalwood is India, and the other is that a large number of red sandalwood entered China after the sea ban and opening up in the Longqing period of the Ming Dynasty.


In the early Qing Dynasty, due to excessive logging of yellow and purple hardwoods, the original materials could not meet the needs of the upper class society of the palace nobility. Another precious hardwood produced in Southeast Asian countries, “Red Sour Branches,” was more mined and imported into the mainland, becoming a substitute for rosewood. “Red wood furniture,” also became a high-end household item pursued by the Chinese wealthy gentry. At that time, the concept of “rosewood” specifically referred to the red acid branch, which mainly refers to the Jiaozhi Huangtan produced in Southeast Asia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and other countries, with a small portion being Bali Huangtan and Austria Huangtan.


Redwood is an important “keyword” in Chinese history and culture. However, due to historical reasons, this term once disappeared from the lives of Chinese people in the decades of the last century. Around 2000, with the revival of Chinese culture, mahogany entered the public eye again and increasingly became a high-end furniture and household item that modern people aspire to, and thus became an item for people to watch, collect, and invest in.


However, at this time, the concept of “redwood” has undergone significant changes. Firstly, “redwood” no longer specifically refers to red acid branches, but instead incorporates materials discovered and used in recent years on a historical basis. According to the redwood national standard issued in 2000, there are a total of 5 genera, 8 categories, and 33 types of wood; Secondly, the “red sour twigs” are no longer just the original old red sour twigs, namely, Jiaozhi Dalbergia, but also the Dalbergia retusa, African Dalbergia and other sour twigs.


There is no other country in the world that has such a profound and inexplicable relationship with wood as China. According to folk legend, the ancestor Yao was the first to invent the method of building houses on a wooden mountain and married his wife back with a wooden handcart. Although it is a legend, the information that can be read from it is that ancestors made houses, production tools, and furniture by hand, all of which originated from wood. The solid physical evidence can be found at the Hemudu site 7000 years ago, where the wooden agricultural tools, wooden bowls, and wooden beam frames with mortise and tenon joints unearthed have not rotted to this day.


Wood has a long history in Chinese life. The Chinese people use wood to make paper, use wood to carve characters and plates, and then write down the entire history of architecture and wooden product technology development in the space built with wood. For this nation, houses can be any form, from small tables and chairs that can sit on them to large wardrobes that can be identical to rooms. The house that is carried is called a sedan chair, and a carriage is a room with wheels on it. Ships in China can be seen as houses floating on water.

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