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Chinese Screens

The folding screen is a moveable piece of furniture originating in China, dating back to the 4th Century BC during the Han Dynasty (although they were more than likely used earlier).

Intricately carved from wood or hand painted in gold leaf amongst a number of other materials, each screen forms a part of a story, rich in symbolism and interpretation which when placed together tells a story or depicts a proverb. The screens often included symbols such as mallards, dragons or fish to bring joy, marital bliss and good fortune into the home. The stories were often about life in the Palace or depicted mythological themes or nature. (The Nine Dragon Screen with nine dragons either painted or carved is especially significant as the number nine is regarded as the largest numeral and the emperors regard themselves as reincarnations of dragons).

Beautifully carved and elegantly displayed the Chinese Floor Screen was a subtle depiction of wealth in the educated and cultured households.

Over time the popularity of the floor screen spread first to Japan and then to Europe. The Coromandel screen made using a number of lacquer techniques - was in high demand!


“The famous designer Coco Chanel was absolutely fascinated with Coromandel screens. She was known to be an avid collector of Chinese folding screens. Apparently, she owned 32 folding screens, 8 of which were housed in her apartment in Paris.”


Striking, elegant and decorative, the Chinese screen included in modern day interiors gives a room character, depth and texture. Geometric or ornately carved and finished, big or small – the screen takes a number of forms in the modern interior: a beautiful and dramatic headboard, a magnificent, detailed wall hanging or a unique room divider - including a mirror on the rear of the screen creates a new dimension for the space in your house.

Choose a screen that speaks to you and the character of your house!


21 on Montagu 2018 ©

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