• Visit
    • Location and Admission
    • Opening Hours and Holidays
    • Adverse Weather Arrangement
    • Precautionary Measures
    • Transportation
    • Accessibility
    • Museum Map
    • Guided Tour/Visit
  • Collections
    • Highlights
    • Bronzes
    • Ceramics
    • Paintings
    • Calligraphy and Rubbings
    • Prints and Photographs
    • Sculptures
    • Wood Carvings and Furniture
    • Works of Art
  • Exhibitions
    • Current Exhibitions
    • Upcoming Exhibitions
    • Past Exhibitions
    • Virtual Exhibitions
  • Events
    • Current Events
    • Past Events
  • Education
    • Research
    • Teaching
    • STArts
    • Internship
    • Museum from Home
  • Publications
    • Recent & Recommended
    • Complete Catalogue
  • Press Release
  • Support
    • How to Support
    • Volunteers
    • The University of Hong Kong Museum Society
    • The University of Hong Kong Alumni
  • About
    • Vision and Mission
    • History
    • Fung Ping Shan Building
< Back

01 Mar 2008 - 15 Jun 2008

The University Museum and Art Gallery, The University of Hong Kong is pleased to present an exhibition on the art of Chinese wooden stands. On display will be over 130 examples of Chinese stands dating from the Tang to the Qing dynasties from the Songde Tang collection. Most of the exhibits are exquisite wood carvings with a small number made of other materials such as bronze, bamboo, porcelain or ivory. The aim of this unique exhibition is to encourage greater interest in a branch of Chinese art that has remained largely unrecognised.

Wood carving has an important place in Chinese material culture. Considered as a miniature piece of wooden furniture, the carving techniques of stands, particularly the mortise-and-tenon technique, derive from the making of antique Chinese furniture. In the Qing dynasty, stand-making reached a pinnacle of fine design and workmanship with emphasis on the natural beauty of the wood itself. Zitan, huali and blackwood are the most commonly used materials in Chinese stand-making. Stands can be constructed from several pieces of wood or carved from a single block. Qing stands are more imposing than earlier ones, with elaborate latticework and openwork carving. Other widely admired examples combine gold and silver thread or mother-of-pearl inlay on a lacquer ground. Many of the decorative designs feature traditional or auspicious Chinese patterns. Influenced by China's growing overseas trade, floral patterns of foreign origin were also adopted in stand designs.

Compared with other scholar's objects, stands have rarely been recognised as artworks in their own right. Because of their function, attention has focused on the beauty of the objects that they support rather than the significance of the stands. Each stand featured in this exhibition is unique, taking the features of the main work as their object. The stands not only function as supports, but are custom made to reflect the beauty of its object.

A fully-illustrated catalogue with a scholarly essay describing the ten categories of stands by Philip Mak will be published for the exhibition.


A zitan stand with rococo motifs 

 Qing dynasty (18th century) 

 Length 26.8 cm Width 26.5 cm

 Height 16 cm 


A blackwood vase stand with geese-shaped legs 

 Early 20th century 

 Width 7.2 cm Height 7 cm


A blackwood lotus-petal shaped bowl stand

 Qing dynasty (late 19th century)

 Width 12 cm Height 3.5 cm 


A free-form blackwood stand for gourd 

Qing dynasty (late 18th century)

 Length 11 cm Width 22 cm Height 9 cm 



(Photo courtesy of University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU)

Address: 90 Bonham Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong View the location on Google Maps
Tel: (852) 2241 5500 Fax: (852) 2546 9659 Email: museum@hku.hk
© 2021 by University Museum and Art Gallery, HKU. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy