The Chinese Wedding Bed

B-Couples B&B114 (1)

These wonderful scenes are from a delightful bone and bamboo Mahjong set you can find in Mah Jongg The Art of the Game By Ann Israel and me.

The images detail wedding preparations and the wedding night itself.

On the third row, far right, you can see the bride with her red shoes, sitting on a bed. The bed looks quite ornate, and Chinese Wedding beds actually look like this. I lucked upon this one, seen at Leonard's Antiques.



Many if us who live in NYC might think this is the size of a studio apartment!

Here are some of the carvings seen on the outside of the bed, going around the perimeter of the opening. You will see that the carvings closely resemble some of the ornate ones we see on the outside of deeply carved mahjong boxes.




Here are scenes from Chinese tales, featuring some battles and other dramatic moments, not quite what most of us would expect to have decorating a marital bed! But these scenes are cherished by the Chinese, as we see in other forms of Chinese art.


Chinese lions are atop the bed, on either side:



Inside the bed painted panels surround the mattress, here seen with symbols of prosperity (fish) and modernity (streetlight):



Melons and Pagodas



The mandarin duck symbolizes married bliss



And yet another fish a carp, the symbol for success and advancement in business:



This carving is on the top center of the bed:



Ray Heaton has kindly translated these unusual characters.

I think the characters may be 百世其昌 (reading right to left), which means "may your future generations prosper" and is used in ancestral worship (for example), where chants (or prayers) to ancestors are made asking them to help protect you, family and generations yet to come.



This all ties in very nicely, doesn't it?

One thought on “The Chinese Wedding Bed

  1. Tony Watson

    Wow, what a find that bed is! How wonderful to see all that carving and artistry still intact.
    So, did you buy it? 🙂

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