eight-piece elaborately carved sofa set came to my father by coincidence.
Having been a frequent dinner guest at the People's Congress of
China, my father learned that there was a sofa set being commissioned
by the People's Congress to be used in the guest hall, mainly
used for receiving foreign government officials. It was said that
the sofa set took 5 years to complete, and each piece was carved
with different scenes from the classical Chinese novel, "Dream
of the Red Chamber".
solid aged mahogany imported from Southeast Asia, all logs used
for this 8-piece set were hand picked and were aged for at least
twenty years prior to being selected. After the completion of
all the detailed carving, it sat in the warehouse for another
five years before it was to be made ready, as the aging process
would need to take place and any cracks due to climate would get
fixed before they were to be sent to the People's Congress. But
at this dinner party, my father learned that the People's Congress
was planning to obtain another set of furniture for the room to
give it more of a contemporary look instead.
learning about this opportunity, my father went to the warehouse
where the pieces were stored and had a look at them. He was impressed
with the quality of the craftsmanship and the detailed carving,
in addition to the beautiful aged mahogany the set is made in,
so he purchased it instead. Ironically the People's Congress later
attempted to repossess it but by then my father had already purchased
it and shipped it to his warehouse.
set was completed in 1991, taking total of 10 years to complete.
During the process, three partially completed pieces had to be
thrown away because there were some minor errors made to the scene
from the novel of "Dream of the red chamber" that each chair had
been carved with. My father has had the set since 1995. All five
chairs have different carvings and scenes from the "Dream of
the Red Chamber".
actual color of the sofa set is darker than the pictures showed.
Main sofa: 2 meters long by 0.63 meters wide by 167 centimeters
Main coffee table: 1.62 meters long by 0.63 meters wide by 0.60
Small sofa: 0.90 meters long by 0.60 meters wide by 1.33 meters
tall (4 pieces total) Tea table: 0.90 meters long by 0.53 meters
wide by 0.73 meters tall.
Weight: Approximately 900 pounds total.
to furniture experts in Beijing, there are no more than five sofa
sets with carving and construction comparable to this, and only
one outside China, in Taiwan. In terms of the story this sofa
set portraits, there is no other pieces like this in the world.