how to identify antique chinese furniture
Kristina Davis

How to identify antique Chinese furniture is nowhere close to rocket science. It is something you can do with so much ease.

Chinese artifacts have since time immemorial been hailed for their quality and for having been crafted skillfully.

Now, antique furniture, or better still, call them old-fashioned furniture, might be what everyone admires at some point in life.

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They bring back memories for us from our prime days; they evoke feelings and emotions and bring nostalgia.

Also, the timeless quality of antique Chinese furniture makes your living space amble and good-looking.

Imagine how hundreds of years old furniture in good condition can turn around your place with the promise of many other years of existence.

And that is why this article highlights vital characteristics you can use to identify them.

Identifying antique Chinese furniture should be so easy but met with extreme caution. Look at the woods the furniture is made of, the joinery or the Patina. 

This and more are intensively discussed in this blog.

Look at the Woods the Furniture Is Made Of

check the wood of furniture

Antique Chinese furniture was made from wood that is rare to be found today. Most of them have been overexploited.

These antiques were carved from very dense and oily hardwood trees found in China in the 1800s and back. Today, most Chinese furniture is made out of softwood trees.

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While it may be hard for you to identify these woods, do not fret. Visit museums and furniture stores for site viewing of what the lumber used to make old furniture were like.

Since we live in a century of very bright people with ill motives, tread keenly while going for this furniture.

Con artists have made it possible to create fakes resembling this antique furniture. But you sure won’t fall for their deceits since their ways can be told.

Cons will cause the wood on the furniture to appear famished and overused; their thinking makes them believe that antique objects must be overworked.

No, not, feel the wood and look out for all the features to guarantee you the uniqueness of the furniture.


joinery of antique

Antique Chinese furniture was joined at the edges and vertices with a lot of complexity using a puzzle-like jigsaw to tie the furniture together.

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That is to say, any other modern-looking joining style is alarming. Iron nails or superglue that resembles those used in the modern-day warn you of a not so olden Chinese furniture

Unlike the modern ones, most antique Chinese furniture is loosely knit together to enable dismemberment while moving them.

So, while identifying the authenticity of antique Chinese furniture, the joinery plays a pivotal role.

Tip: Ask the dealer to dismember the furniture for you. Look out for any new woods or softwoods, metallic iron or glue; any presence becomes a red flag. There and then tread softly.

The Form, Style, and Shape

Distinguishing olden from new is as simple as determining the moon and the sun.

How to identify antique Chinese furniture starts with the form, style, and shape of the furniture.

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style shape and form

Currently, the way shapes for furniture are curved stands out from how it was done hundreds of years ago.

The shape was not so distinct, neither was the style nor the form. Any shape appearing to belong to the modern-day rules out the ability of the furniture to be antique.

You have to be extraordinarily careful, especially with the rectangular forms that most tables take.

Tip: If the size appears to yield modern comfort, step back.

You may need to meet a consultant to guide you in sourcing Chinese antique furniture.

Seek a Consultant

Consultants are connoisseurs with years of relevant experience in antique Chinese furniture.

They understand the entire cat and mouse games played by frauds in the antique market.

consult an expert

They will guide you through selecting and decision-making for the furniture you wish to acquire.

A Hong Kong Chinese antique dealer, Andy Ng, recounts seeing a low table modified to suit the modern-day setting.

Wu-Tang, an antics specialist, said he could always tell the difference between originals and fakes.

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Consulting the many connoisseurs you can find at any museum saves you the danger of buying a fake.

Tip: Regardless of how much time and resources are invested in crafting fakes, these specialists will tell the authenticity of each by the looks. And they will guide you to understand and identify antique Chinese software.

Do Your Research

Congratulations, you are already doing that by reading this blog post. Identifying antique Chinese furniture takes some research too.

Research can be sourced from all over.

do your research

Blog posts like this, Museums, reading about ancient Chinese culture and furniture, listening to consultants and advisors, etc.


The color of incrustation the furniture acquires from aging is another way to identify antique Chinese furniture.

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The hardwoods used to make the furniture build a layer of color different from the initial color. This covering is what we call Patina. Now, fakes know this too well.

They also know that patination is an aspect you will use to identify if their furniture is antique or not.

For being too ‘smart,’ they will use some artificial patination that should appear fake to any keen eye.

Tip: Be observant of the depth of the Patina. Any old wood must have the Patina changing from time to time. Avoid anything else that may look suspicious.

How Can I Identify if My Chinese Furniture Is Antique?

identify antique chinese furniture

You may already own antique furniture you believe to be antique in China. Remove any kinds of doubts by identifying whether the furniture really is antique to China or not.

While most of the simple ways to do so have been discussed above, below is a rerun of how you can quickly identify whether your Chinese furniture is antique to China.

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The Artistry Applied

It is easier to tell furniture made by hand from that made electrically. Turn and toss your furniture to identify any electrical works applied to it.

The presence of any sends a red flag about its authenticity. Most antique Chinese furniture was crafted skillfully and hand-made.


dirt of antique furniture

Dirt is one skill fakes use to fleece you. No matter the washing, antique Chinese furniture, dirt differs from any recent one.

Years-old dirt is different from any new ones. The degree speaks louder here.

Cracks, Breaks, and Repairs

Ideally, aged furniture must have been repaired a couple of times. There have to be breaks, cracks, and fissures within. The absence of any should be worrying.

No way antique Chinese furniture can still be new and unbroken or unrepaired at this age.

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Wood Type

type of wood

The type of wood your furniture may have will portray whether it is antique or not.

Most wood used to make antique Chinese furniture was hardwood and was overexploited years ago during the Qing dynasty.

Since then, this wood has been used up, and the existing wood has since then been listed endangered and is now protected.


This article has in detail featured how to identify antique Chinese furniture. Please do not fall for fakes.

They can be misleading, and you’ll be shocked to discover they’re everywhere.

Be smart and get yourself the real antique Chinese furniture. Will you.

There always is something inviting with age. The more something becomes of age, the more value it yields, Scotch, Whisky, Honey, and Furniture.

Furniture antique to China is inviting, and adding it to your space brings more pomp and color.