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The extravagance of simplicity

A seasoned craftsman's 'fever' for classical furniture produces pieces of timeless elegance, Lin Qi reports.

By Lin Qi | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-04-09 07:36
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Wu Bingliang (left) receives a donation certificate from Wang Chunfa, director of the National Museum of China. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

Wu Bingliang, a furniture collector and master woodworker, compares his relationship with classical Chinese furniture, which he has had from the late 1970s, to a kind of obsession.

"I have a high fever for classical furniture. I've had it for years," says the man in his 60s.

Born in Guangdong province, where furniture has been produced for centuries, Wu has risen from being a minor figure in the trade to a leading craftsman involved in the revival of antique Chinese furniture. His timeless, elegant pieces, highly sought after by furniture lovers, have been added to both public and private collections of importance. He also has a museum named after him that displays objects he has made over the past four decades.

Wu recently made a donation to the National Museum of China of pieces that encapsulate his masterful technique and discernment.

They included two pairs of seven-tired pagodas, modeled after the ones that were once at the Forbidden City, as well as three miniature sets of furniture for the study, bedroom and meeting hall that illustrate the basic arrangements of Chinese furniture in daily life.

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