Handler, a widely respected scholar of Chinese furniture, uses her knowledge of Chinese social, political, and economic history to offer a backdrop for understanding the many nuances of this art form. Drawing on literary and visual evidence from excavated materials, written texts, paintings, prints, and engravings, she discusses how people lived, their notions of hierarchy, and their perceptions of space. Her descriptions of historical developments, such as the shift from mats to chairs, evoke the psychological and sociological ramifications.
The invention of a distinctive method to beef up and contain people and things inside the household is one in every of China’s singular contributions, says Handler. With more than three hundred exquisite illustrations, many in color, Handler’s comprehensive study reveals “the magical totality of Chinese classical furniture, from its wealthy surfaces and shrewd proportions down to the austere soul of art that resides within the hardwood interiors.” Austere Luminosity recognizes Chinese classical furniture as one in every of China’s premier arts, unique within the furniture traditions of the world.