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Stone table aand barrel seats © Lesley Bremness

Stone table and barrel seats

Stone tables and seats feature in many classical Chinese gardens, where people could sit, relax and admire their surroundings. Here, each seat is carved with a flower or tree to represent a season.

Chess was a favourite pastime in gardens, and gaming boards were sometimes cut into a stone table. In Chinese mythology, immortals often play chess and traditionally garden landscapes and activities were associated with a personal quest to achieve immortality.

A scholar might also sit at a table to play the Chinese zither, or gu qin, a seven-stringed musical instrument. The philosopher Confucius played the zither, and its music was thought to be intellectually stimulating and morally uplifting.

Back to the list of plants and objects in China Landscape

Two immortals can be seen playing chess at a stone table in a garden on this stoneware wine jar.On this silk fan, a scholar sits reading at a table. Behind him is a naturally eroded scholar’s rock.

Left: Two immortals can be seen playing chess at a stone table in a garden on this stoneware wine jar.

Right: On this silk fan, a scholar sits reading at a table. Behind him is a naturally eroded scholar’s rock.

Top left: Stone table aand barrel seats © Lesley Bremness