china edition


Guanfu Classical Art Museum

This is a private museum, one of a handful in the capital. For those with an interest in antique furniture, particularly those contemplating making a purchase, this museum provides useful background information, explaining the history and properties of the wood grains you'll encounter. The cheap, sturdy wood common in the north is euphemistically renamed 'country style' (locals call it chaimu, or firewood), but otherwise you'll read nothing but the facts. Oddities include short-backed meditation chairs, a folding chair for imperial hunting expeditions, and an intricate mirror stand. This museum has an outlet near the airport, but you practically have to beg staff to tell you where it is.

For those with an interest in exotic hardwood furniture, the Red Sandalwood Museum is also recommended.

Founded by Chen Lihua, China's wealthiest woman, re-creations of rooms within the Forbidden City reveal her penchant for the tastes and excesses of her Manchu forebears.