Chinese tea plant and washbasin stands were crafted for specific purposes, often associated with important social needs in the household.
Tea stands were one of the more formal pieces of furniture as they were generally used in the reception hall of the home. These stands were placed beside the chairs and used for serving tea and complementary treats. Tea stands often have storage compartments, such as drawers and shelves. As the chairs were mostly arranged in pairs, so too are the tea stands.
Another style of Chinese stands are plant stands. They are decorative pieces keeping in with the style of artistic interior settings. They’re often seen in scholar’s homes, placed in areas of significance in the house to display bonsai plants, floral arrangements and other items of beauty. Plant stands are generally taller and slimmer with a focus on proportion and aesthetic appeal.
Washbasin stands developed with the advent of the chair mode of living in about the 10th century. Early stands had the basin sitting snugly within a simple frame. It later evolved to include a towel rack and soap container. The towel rack was often elaborately carved with auspicious symbols, which helped hold the towel and looked more appealing. The stand was also often placed around the home to display a bowl of fresh flowers.
A range of different tea, plant and washbasin stands and more can be seen in our Fyshwick antiques gallery.