The aesthetic principles in Chinese art and culture have persisted through centuries of dynastic change and social revolution.
Classical Chinese furniture met the climax of refinement in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). woodworking reached a high level in the Song and Yuan dynasties. In combination with the growing prosperity and commercial economy, society was able to develop their homes and gardens. The simple lines, pleasing proportions, and mortise and tenon craftsmanship, formed a distinct aesthetic that continues to inspire to this day. Emphasis was placed on wood grain combined with openwork carving which led to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Prosperity and luxurious lifestyles for the merchant class continued through mid century. Western influence and culture became more prevalent in China as evident in the Western flamboyance seen in carved Qing Dynasty furniture. It was in the late 1800s when the decline of "Classical Chinese" furniture was first noted, caused by low-quality timber and craftsmanship that lacked attention to detail.