When asked “what is Oriental furniture?” I find it very difficult to define. With such a long history and its immense geographic and cultural diversity, the Orient is a place that never ceases to amaze. Imagine the diversity created in the 500 hundred years since the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Now consider that Chinas first NAMED dynasty began in the early bronze age (that’s 5000 years ago). Now imagine the immense diversity of furniture styles that have emerged.
The Orient roughly consists of everything in between and including Afghanistan and Japan and Mongolia and Indonesia. Some of the most popular modern furniture styles to come out of this great land mass and Islands are the Tansu of Japan, the tropical elegance of Indonesian furniture and the oriental and Mongolian buffets (not the all you can eat kind) and chests of central Asia. Perhaps the most cliché of all these has been the black and red cabinet style oriental TV stands distinguishable by the large brass circle on the doors which have become just about as mainstream as Chinese food.
One very useful Oriental furniture style is the Mongolian buffet. Great for entry ways, dining rooms, kitchens and even as Plasma TV stands, Mongolian buffets often have a small cabinet on the bottom great for TV components or fine china and a series of drawers on top that can accommodate silverware and odds and ends. But of course the real reason to love this Oriental furniture piece is the style.
So what do I say when asked what is Oriental furniture? I’d say it’s yours to explore and find out.