The Arhat Bed, also known as the Luohan Bed, is an intriguing and ancient piece of Chinese furniture that holds both cultural and historical significance. As one of the traditional sleeping furnishings, this unique bed has captured the fascination of historians, art enthusiasts, and furniture collectors alike. With its distinctive design and practicality, the Arhat Bed has remained a symbol of Chinese heritage and craftsmanship throughout the centuries.
what are arhat bed meaning?
The Luohan bed is an ancient Chinese piece of furniture and is one of the traditional sleeping furnishings. The Maitreya couch is generally large in size and comes in two types, with or without a waist beam. If it has a waist beam and the middle part of the slats is wide with a large curve, it is commonly known as the “Luohan belly,” hence the name “Luohan bed.” The Luohan bed has always been popular due to its practicality.
what are arhat bed made of?
- High-end Arhat Bed products are generally made from precious and rare materials, with Hainan yellow rosewood being the best choice.
- If rarity in dark-colored wood is the criteria, then small-leaf purple sandalwood Arhat Bed is preferred.
- For those considering cost-effectiveness, the best option would be a large-fruit purple sandalwood Arhat Bed.
- If dark-colored wood is the preferred standard, then large red sourwood is the best choice.
- For those seeking a simple and elegant Ming-style design, the curved ruler Arhat Bed is the best option.
- New Chinese Zen-style Arhat Bed, made of solid wood, with sliding design, suitable for small households, using aged elm wood, and providing storage space.
- Modern and simple three-piece set Arhat Bed with New Chinese style, made of solid wood, exuding a Zen atmosphere, using aged elm wood.
- Small-sized Arhat Bed with solid wood, inspired by Ming and Qing styles, featuring traditional joinery techniques, using elm wood.
- Solid rosewood furniture, with chicken-wing wood Arhat Bed, resembling antique bed couches, suitable for use in the living room or bedroom as a noble and elegant resting place.
what are arhat bed used for?
The Arhat Bed is a typical representative of ancient Chinese sleeping furniture and holds a long history as a revered piece of furniture. Its name derives from its distinctive feature: a wide waist beam and slats with a pronounced curve resembling a potbelly, earning it the nickname “Arhat belly,” hence the name “Arhat Bed.” The Arhat Bed serves not only as a sleeping furnishing but also as a seating furniture, equipped with side and back railings, but without a bed frame. The railings are often constructed using small wooden tenons and mortises, with the simplest designs utilizing three solid wood boards. Arhat Beds come in various sizes; the larger ones are commonly referred to as “Arhat Beds,” while the smaller ones are still known by their traditional names “tà” or “Maitreya couch.” It is also hailed as the “most ideal sleeping furniture” by Mr. Wang Shixiang for its simplicity and elegance.
In terms of guest reception, the Arhat Bed holds a higher status than chairs and was considered the most prestigious way to entertain guests in ancient times. Its primary function was not for sleeping but for hosting guests. The manner of receiving and treating guests is considered a reflection of one’s refinement and disposition, making the Arhat Bed’s status equivalent to the modern-day sofa. Therefore, the Arhat Bed became a guest furniture piece, often placed in the living room or study, providing guests with a place to rest, converse, and entertain.
Furthermore, the Arhat Bed’s design and decoration are diverse; some Arhat Beds feature inlays, relief carvings, or painted artwork, adding to their artistic value. Throughout history, Arhat Beds were essential furnishings in royal palaces, noble residences, and temples, symbolizing a prestigious sleeping arrangement and holding significant cultural and historical value.
In conclusion, as a representative of ancient Chinese sleeping furniture, the Arhat Bed possesses not only practical value but also considerable cultural, artistic, and historical significance. It is an essential component of Chinese ancient culture and serves as a vital carrier for the inheritance and promotion of Chinese culture.
arhat bed types
“Three-Sided” Arhat Bed: This type of Arhat Bed features three connected screens forming the bed enclosure. The backside serves as the frontal screen, extending forward on both sides with a waist beam at the base. The screen design is connected as a unified structure, with decorative elements closely resembling the Ming-style.
“Five-Sided” Arhat Bed: In this style, the bed enclosure consists of five screens. The three frontal screens at the back are connected, extending forward on both sides with a waist beam at the base. The central frontal screen is elevated, creating a dynamic and undulating form. The emergence of the “Five-Sided” Arhat Bed gradually reflects the distinctive features of the Qing-style Arhat Bed, showcasing more pronounced decorative techniques.
“Seven-Sided” Arhat Bed: This variant features a bed enclosure with seven connected screens. The three frontal screens at the back are connected, and each side has two screens extending forward with a waist beam at the base. “Five-Sided” and “Seven-Sided” Arhat Beds are commonly used in Qing-style furniture.
“Nine-Sided” Arhat Bed: Building on the previous style, this version has five connected frontal screens, creating a mountain-like form. This grand and majestic design is often seen in imperial court settings.
Arhat Bed Structure—Classification Based on Regional Styles
Through the study of Arhat Bed designs, it is evident that the height of the bed enclosure screens is crucial in determining its antiquity—the lower the screens, the older the age of the bed. Additionally, Arhat Bed designs and decorative techniques vary significantly among different regional styles, such as the Beijing-style, Guangdong-style, and Suzhou-style.
“Beijing-style” Arhat Bed: This type of Arhat Bed is primarily used in the imperial court and caters to the Qing Dynasty’s court settings. Influenced by the extravagance of the royal court, these beds adopt larger proportions and use luxurious materials to showcase their grand and magnificent qualities.
“Suzhou-style” Arhat Bed: Following the fine traditions of Ming-style furniture, Suzhou-style Arhat Beds maintain a sense of elegance with smooth and flowing lines and well-balanced structures.
“Guangdong-style” Arhat Bed: Deeply influenced by overseas cultures, Guangdong-style furniture has always emphasized the integration and blending of different styles. Since the Qing Dynasty, Guangdong-style furniture has incorporated more Western-style elements in design, structure, and decoration, resulting in a harmonious fusion of Eastern and Western characteristics. This style often features a waist beam design and places great emphasis on intricate carving, particularly in decorative patterns, seeking lavish and opulent aesthetics.
what are arhat bed symbolizes?
The Arhat Bed is a historically significant piece of furniture that has been highly favored for its practicality. In ancient times, refined scholars and prestigious families often used Arhat Beds when receiving guests to showcase their economic wealth, social status, and identity value. The Arhat Bed not only serves as a functional piece of furniture but also provides a place for relaxation during leisure time. Its antique and elegant appearance, coupled with a graceful and noble temperament, exudes a powerful yet subtle aesthetic experience.
The design and decoration of Arhat Beds are highly diverse, with some incorporating craftsmanship such as inlay, relief carving, and painted decorations, enhancing their artistic value. Throughout history, Arhat Beds have been essential furnishings in royal palaces, noble mansions, temples, and monasteries, symbolizing the status and cultural significance they hold.
Additionally, the use of Arhat Beds requires careful maintenance and upkeep. As Arhat Beds are typically made of hardwood, they are susceptible to environmental factors and humidity, necessitating regular care and cleaning. It is essential to avoid direct sunlight and damp environments during use to ensure the longevity and quality of the Arhat Bed’s appearance.
In conclusion, the Arhat Bed is a piece of furniture that possesses practical, cultural, artistic, and historical value. It not only serves as a functional piece of furniture but also provides an aesthetic enjoyment and a connection to history. For those who appreciate antiques and history, the Arhat Bed is an indispensable collectible item not to be missed.
arhat bed in feng shui
The Arhat Bed is a traditional bedroom furniture that remains highly popular to this day. However, many people are not familiar with Arhat Beds. It is said that in the past, Arhat Beds were used by high-ranking individuals in temples for meditation. Nowadays, they have become common household items. Nonetheless, there are specific guidelines for placing Arhat Beds, especially considering Feng Shui principles. Let’s take a look at some Feng Shui taboos and key points for placing Arhat Beds.
Feng Shui for Arhat Bed Placement:
Arhat Beds not only exhibit classical and charming aesthetics but also serve multiple functional purposes, adding convenience to people’s lives. This versatility makes them even more favored. The placement of Arhat Beds is crucial and should not be haphazard, as it may impact one’s life negatively.
Feng Shui Taboos for Arhat Bed Placement:
It is well-known that an Arhat Bed should be placed in the right position to maximize its utility and value, making the purchase worthwhile. Generally, Arhat Beds are best placed against a wall to avoid direct sunlight and provide proper ventilation. Most importantly, the Arhat Bed should not be positioned directly opposite the restroom door to prevent conflicting Feng Shui energies. Additionally, it should not be placed in conflict with the altar, as this could lead to negative Feng Shui effects. Therefore, careful consideration and attention are essential when placing an Arhat Bed. If economically feasible, it is advisable to seek assistance from experienced professionals to arrange the Arhat Bed properly.
Key Points for Arhat Bed Placement:
First and foremost, the Arhat Bed should ideally be placed against a wall to save space and provide a secure and suitable location for the furniture.
Secondly, avoid placing the Arhat Bed in direct sunlight to prevent unnecessary damage from UV rays. As most Arhat Beds are made of solid wood, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may cause fading and significantly reduce its lifespan. This aspect should not be underestimated.
Thirdly, it is advisable to position the Arhat Bed in a well-ventilated area to ensure effective care and maintenance, enhancing convenience in one’s daily life.
In conclusion, the Arhat Bed is a piece of furniture with practical, cultural, artistic, and historical value. Placing it according to Feng Shui principles ensures optimal energy flow and harmony in the living space, providing both functional and aesthetic benefits.
arhat bed history
Since the Tang Dynasty, the practice of “sitting with dangling feet” has become a trend, leading to the rapid development of tall furniture. The Tang Dynasty Arhat Bed inherited characteristics from the Sui, Tang, and Five Dynasties periods. During this time, it already exhibited tall, delicate, and elegant features, as evidenced by preserved paintings and unearthed murals.
By the Song Dynasty, a comprehensive furniture system had formed, with chairs being particularly prominent. The Arhat Bed retained its box-like structure from the Sui and Tang periods and combined it with waistbands and supporting mud shapes. As time passed, it evolved further with the addition of three surrounding boards, and the craftsmanship became more intricate, laying the foundation for the development of the Ming Dynasty Arhat Bed.
In the Ming Dynasty, with significant advances in woodworking and changes in aesthetic preferences, transformations naturally occurred. The most noticeable change was the disappearance of the supporting legs in the middle of the box-shaped bed, until they were completely omitted, leaving only the outer legs. The vertical intersecting plank legs gradually merged into solid square legs, with their bottom tips turning into hoof shapes, as depicted in the illustrated edition of “Jin Ping Mei” from the Chongzhen reign of the Ming Dynasty. This inward-turned hoof shape became a common feature in the Arhat Beds of the time. The description of the bed in the book can also be used to summarize the typical and distinct features of Ming Dynasty Arhat Beds: three surrounding boards, no waistbands, and inward-turned hoof-shaped legs.
Ming Dynasty painter and garden designer Wen Zhengming wrote in his book “Chang Wu Zhi” that “ancient people made various types of beds, of different lengths and widths, placed in rooms, they must be ancient and lovely, suitable for sitting and lying, suitable for all occasions.” Arhat Beds can be considered the most accommodating classical furniture, as they can indeed be used in various ways. With a small table placed on the bed, one can read books or appreciate paintings in solitude. Alternatively, one can lean on the bed, supporting the head with one hand, and gaze out the window daydreaming. When friends visit, they can be invited to sit on the bed for chatting, enjoying tea, playing chess, and even have a little drink if the mood arises. Without the table, it serves as a convenient place for a rest or a nap during daily life and work, offering utmost convenience.
In the main hall, the Arhat Bed becomes a highly esteemed private space, akin to the modern-day sofa. For example, in the halls of the Ming and Qing dynasties, Arhat Beds were often placed at the center, creating a small personal realm for the hosts and honored guests. Scenes of people receiving guests on Arhat Beds can be frequently observed in paintings, and this highest-level etiquette of receiving guests on Arhat Beds became the norm in the Qing Dynasty. The bed can serve for both leisure and serious purposes, accommodating various needs of the people, which explains why it has remained popular.
During the Qing Dynasty, Arhat Beds generally maintained the Ming Dynasty’s style and characteristics, with the main differences lying in the materials and craftsmanship. For instance, the use of thicker and more substantial materials and the adoption of more elaborate decorations, such as carving, inlaying, gilding, and lacquering. Inlays often used materials like jade, agate, porcelain pieces, marble, shell inlays, enamel, bamboo, and ivory carvings. The appearance of Arhat Beds has graced the lives of literati and scholars from the Tang Dynasty to the present.
In ancient China, there were four types of sleeping furniture: the Ta (榻), the Arhat Bed (罗汉床), the Jiashichuang (架式床), and the Babeichuang (拔步床). The last two were exclusively used for sleeping, while the first two served as both sleeping and sitting furniture. In ancient times, people had two types of sleep: big sleep, which refers to the formal nighttime sleep, and small sleep, which indicates naps taken during the day. Ta and Arhat Beds were used for small sleep and could be used to receive guests, while Jiashichuang and Babeichuang were reserved for big sleep and were unsuitable for entertaining guests. Since the Tang Dynasty, as seen in the painting “Han Xizai’s Night Banquet,” this scene of receiving guests while sitting on Ta or Arhat Beds became quite common. This ritual had become customary, especially in the Qing Dynasty. Thus, the Arhat Bed gradually evolved from simplicity to elegance, emphasizing its own decorative features. The Three-Surrounding Board Arhat Bed is an example of this evolution. This furniture, which originated from an American museum of Chinese classical furniture, has a three-surrounding board design with seven pieces of black and white marble. Its front board is slightly higher, clearly demonstrating Qing-style characteristics, yet still retaining basic features from the Ming Dynasty. For example, the front board uses the same length, unlike the Qing-style where the middle piece is taller than the others. Additionally, the front board is only slightly higher than the ones on the sides, a common feature in Ming-style Arhat Beds. In contrast, in Qing Dynasty Arhat Beds, the front board often takes the form of mountain shapes, and the sides frequently use a stepped design, creating a certain drop in height. This requires the front board, especially the middle piece, to be taller to maintain an appropriate drop. The name “Arhat Bed” still lacks a convincing explanation, but it is speculated to be related to the “Maitreya Ta” of the Ming Dynasty. Maitreya Ta is a large seating furniture, unsuitable for lying down, while Arhat Beds are designed with a larger emphasis on sitting rather than lying. Before the Sui and Tang periods, people in ancient times sat on the floor. Although they evolved to the practice of “sitting with dangling feet” after the Song Dynasty, the habit of sitting cross-legged for meditation persisted. Maitreya Ta and Arhat Beds were both created to suit the traditional customs of the Chinese. Another explanation for “Arhat Bed” is that it evolved from “Han Ta.” “Arhat Bed” was the precursor to the imperial “Throne” during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the smaller ones were called Ta, similar to the modern “sofa.”
arhat bed origin
Before the Sui and Tang periods, people in ancient China used to sit on the floor. Although it evolved into the “sitting with dangling feet” practice after the Song Dynasty, the habit of sitting cross-legged for meditation persisted. Both the Maitreya Ta and the Arhat Bed were created to accommodate the traditional customs of the Chinese. The Arhat Bed is said to have originated from a type of seat used by monks for meditation and later underwent continuous changes, becoming widely used in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
It is evident that the Arhat Bed has a noble origin. Unlike ordinary seating furniture, the Arhat Bed not only serves as a chair but can also be used as a single bed. Paired with a small table above and a Ta (a low table-like structure) below, with surrounding boards on three sides, sitting on the Arhat Bed gives a sense of dignity, making it one of the most prestigious seating furniture for receiving guests.
The exact origin and common name of the Arhat Bed are still uncertain.
Explanation one: Some speculate that the Arhat Bed’s origin is related to the Maitreya Ta referred to by people during the Ming Dynasty.
Explanation two: The Arhat Bed is believed to have evolved from the original Han Ta (a type of seating furniture from the Han Dynasty). The “Arhat Bed” was the precursor to the imperial “Throne” during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the smaller ones were called Ta, similar to the modern “sofa.” In ancient China, there were two types of sleep: big sleep (formal nighttime sleep) and small sleep (naps taken during the day). Ta and Arhat Beds were used for small sleep and could be used to receive guests, while Jiashichuang and Babeichuang were reserved for big sleep and were unsuitable for entertaining guests.
Explanation three: Early Arhat Beds were predominantly used by high-ranking individuals in temples, such as abbots and head monks, for both meditation during the day and sleeping at night. Regular monks typically slept on a common bed, and Arhat Beds were not found in their quarters. The senior monks, entitled as “Arhats,” were the ones allowed to sleep on the bed, hence the term “Arhat Bed.”
Explanation four: Another theory regarding the origin of the Arhat Bed is based on the structure of its legs. The legs of the Arhat Bed have outward-curving lines with a significant curvature, closely resembling the large-bellied Arhats found in temples, leading to its colloquial name “Arhat Bed.”
why called arhat bed?
The name of the Arhat Bed is indeed an interesting question, as its origin and explanation vary, and there is no conclusive evidence to support any specific theory. However, considering the appearance and historical background of the Arhat Bed, some explanations seem reasonable and credible.
Firstly, some believe that the name “Arhat Bed” comes from its appearance. The Arhat Bed has a solid and dignified appearance resembling the Arhats, hence the name “Arhat Bed.” This explanation, though simple, is a possibility.
Secondly, the mainstream view is that the name “Arhat Bed” is related to the term “Maitreya Ta” used by people during the Ming Dynasty. People used the Arhat Bed for meditation, and scholars and literati also sat on it for self-cultivation and reciting Buddhist scriptures. The common people often sat on this bed for discussing Buddhist teachings, which might be the origin of the name.
In conclusion, the origin of the name “Arhat Bed” remains an intriguing question. Although there is no definitive evidence, considering its appearance and historical background, we can offer some reasonable explanations.
arhat bed vs kang bed
The Arhat Bed and Kang are two different types of ancient furniture, and they have some differences.
Structure: The Arhat Bed has a unique structure with a wide central part and a curved shape, often referred to as the “Arhat’s belly.” On the other hand, the Kang typically lacks such a specific structure.
Usage: The Arhat Bed is a type of bed with surrounding railings on the sides and back. It can be used for sitting, lying down, and reclining. It can also be placed in study rooms or guest rooms for hosting visitors. On the contrary, the Kang is a traditional heating device commonly found in rural areas in northern China.
Scope: The Arhat Bed comes in various sizes, with larger ones called “Arhat Bed” and smaller ones referred to as “Tah.” On the other hand, the Kang’s scope is more extensive, as it can refer to a heated platform on the floor or a bed.
In conclusion, although both the Arhat Bed and Kang are ancient furniture, they differ in terms of structure, usage, and scope.
Cultural Significance and Usage
Beyond its practicality as a piece of furniture, the Arhat Bed holds deep cultural and spiritual significance. Historically, it was considered a symbol of status and prosperity, often reserved for the nobility and wealthy elite. Owners of these magnificent beds took pride in displaying their social standing and appreciation for the arts.
Moreover, the Arhat Bed’s connection to Buddhism and the Arhats signifies a profound reverence for spirituality and enlightenment. Placing an Arhat Bed in a home was believed to invite positive energies and blessings, fostering a sense of tranquility and harmony within the household.
Preservation and Revival
Over the centuries, the Arhat Bed faced periods of decline as the cultural landscape of China evolved. However, with the resurgence of traditional craftsmanship and appreciation for historical artifacts, there has been a growing interest in preserving and reviving this iconic piece of furniture.
In recent years, artisans and furniture enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to recreate Arhat Beds using traditional techniques and materials. These faithful reproductions pay homage to the rich cultural heritage and intricate craftsmanship of the past, allowing future generations to appreciate the beauty and symbolism of this ancient treasure.
The Arhat Bed stands as a testament to the profound artistry, spirituality, and cultural significance embedded within Chinese traditions. Its distinctive design, steeped in symbolism and history, continues to captivate the imaginations of those who encounter it. As an embodiment of traditional craftsmanship and aesthetics, the Arhat Bed remains a valuable link to China’s ancient past, preserving the nation’s artistic legacy for generations to come.