Back in 1957 Wang Shixiang wrote an impassioned appeal for the preservation of Classical Chinese furniture. On a day to day basis , he was seeing it destroyed .
Prior to liberation , large quantities of Ming furniture had been exported to the West each year .
After liberation, export of classical chinese furniture was banned ,although the ban did not exist for all woods. You might have thought that this ban would have preserved the furniture , but the export ban may have made matters worse , as there was no market for the furniture in China , so fine pieces of furniture were taken appart for their material , to be turned in to musical instruments , and abacus beads.
Wang Shixiang quotes two examples . One where a Beijing timber company sent an officer to Shanxi to look for used materials. Truck loads of broken items of furniture turned up in Beijing.
Wooden products were prohibited from leaving Shanxi, but broken itmes were concidered Materials and could be moved anywhere , and so the furniture was broken up .
On another occasion he met buyers in Anhwei who had negotiated a price for a recessed leg Ming table , 14 ft long and finely carved . This too was destined for the saw .
In those days the focus of attension was on Huanghuali and Zitan . In 2009 .the woods are the same, prices are sky high , and there is an increasing flow of good furniture out of the West and back to China .
In 1999 Curtis Everts brought us "Traditional Chinese furniture from the greater Shanxi region" The collection of C.L.Ma
This explored the lesser woods and opened up new areas of the market .We were now all able to afford Ming and early Qing furniture !
I noted then , that Yu Mu and JuMu furniture was great value for money , and looked like a good long term investment. Here too prices have shot up , and dealers that were previously hardwood specialists , have discovered the charms that C.L.Ma introduced us to.