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Japanese Furniture

Traditional Japanese rooms are uniquely furnished with low furniture, sliding doors, folding partitions, alcoves, thick woven mats, and portable futon beddings. This Japanese furnishing style is known as "washitsu." The most distinctive of Japanese furniture is the presence of the tatami woven straw mats that cover the surface of a washitsu-style room’s flooring.

Color and patterns in Japanese rooms often take the form of standing or sliding screens. These partitions serve to provide privacy and separation from room to room while also creating a focal point. While standing or sliding screens can often be created simply with a grid-like wooden skeleton lined with paper, some are very intricately decorated wood panels with inlaid wood or mother of pearl. Artists and calligraphers also use the standing or sliding screen as a medium of expression with colossal landscape and nature paintings often featured on these paper screens.

As sitting on the tatami mat floor is most common in Japan, tables are built very low to suit the practice. Modern Japanese spaces are often very small as well, creating an emphasis on storage and putting things away when not in use. Japanese cabinets, desks, and cupboards usually feature many shelves in order to keep belongings out of sight.


Quick Facts

  • Tatami mats are so common in Japan that they are often used to indicate the size of a room. In fact, the luck of a room is determined by how many mats can be placed in a room, and in a particular formation
  • In samurai culture, the shogun’s room in a castle usually featured a very extravagant sliding screen. The sliding screen often depicted images that would reinforce the solitary wisdom of the shogun
  • Traditional Japanese beds are often foldable futons that are kept in closets until bedtime. These futons are laid on the floor at night and packed away into a closet again in the morning

Recommended Items at Auction

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Japanese Two Panel Screen
Mar 07, 10:00 AM PST
Japanese Two Panel Screen
by Abell Auction
Est: $200- $300
$2252 Bids
Japanese Painted Tea Table and Lacquerware.
Mar 09, 10:30 AM PST
Japanese Painted Tea Table and Lacquerware.
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $80- $120
$401 Bid
Vintage Japanese National fluro desk lamp.
Mar 04, 7:00 PM AEDT
Vintage Japanese National fluro desk lamp.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD201 Bid
Pair of Japanese Six-Panel Screens
Mar 09, 9:00 AM PST
Pair of Japanese Six-Panel Screens
by Abell Auction
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5001 Bid
Large Japanese Modern coffee table
Mar 08, 10:00 AM EST
Large Japanese Modern coffee table
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $100- $150
$501 Bid
Japanese Pottery Table Lamp, H: 37 in. (94 cm.)
Mar 05, 10:00 AM EST
Japanese Pottery Table Lamp, H: 37 in. (94 cm.)
by Weschler's
Est: $20- $40
$101 Bid
Japanese Kakiemon Type Porcelain Table Lamp, H: 22 in. (55.9 cm.)
Mar 05, 10:00 AM EST
Japanese Kakiemon Type Porcelain Table Lamp, H: 22 in. (55.9 cm.)
by Weschler's
Est: $40- $60
$201 Bid
Japanese Sword Stand for three swords. Wooden. Decorated with gilt Bamboo designs. Height 34.5cc, width 53cm, depth 19cm.
Mar 11, 10:00 AM GMT
Japanese Sword Stand for three swords. Wooden. Decorated with gilt Bamboo designs. Height 34.5cc, width 53cm, depth 19cm.
by Bamfords Auctioneers and Valuers Ltd
Est: £30- £40
£301 Bid
Japanese Bronze Lamp
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Japanese Bronze Lamp
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$200 Bids
Japanese Meiji Black Lacquered Pipe Carousel
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Japanese Meiji Black Lacquered Pipe Carousel
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Pair of Japanese Calligraphy Half Screens.
Mar 09, 10:30 AM PST
Pair of Japanese Calligraphy Half Screens.
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $300- $500
$2000 Bids
Japanese Lacquered Buddhist Stand, Late 18th Century.
Mar 09, 10:30 AM PST
Japanese Lacquered Buddhist Stand, Late 18th Century.
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Near Pair of Japanese Bronze Vases Mounted as Lamps
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
Near Pair of Japanese Bronze Vases Mounted as Lamps
by STAIR
Est: $1,200- $2,400
$6000 Bids
Japanese Tansu Chest.
Mar 09, 10:30 AM PST
Japanese Tansu Chest.
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Pair of Japanese Hanging Lanterns.
Mar 09, 10:30 AM PST
Pair of Japanese Hanging Lanterns.
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Two early 20th century Japanese carved wooden figures converted to table lamps
Mar 08, 10:00 AM GMT
Two early 20th century Japanese carved wooden figures converted to table lamps
by Martel Maides
Est: £80- £100
£600 Bids
Japanese embroidered silk floor screen
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
Japanese embroidered silk floor screen
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
Japanese Lacquer Stool, and other objects.
Mar 09, 10:30 AM PST
Japanese Lacquer Stool, and other objects.
by Turner Auctions + Appraisals
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
Japanese Art Deco Enameled Bronze Lamp
Mar 12, 11:00 AM EDT
Japanese Art Deco Enameled Bronze Lamp
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$500 Bids
Japanese Export Bronze Mounted Red Lacquer and Parcel Gilt Chest
Mar 07, 10:00 AM EST
Japanese Export Bronze Mounted Red Lacquer and Parcel Gilt Chest
by Brunk Auctions
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5000 Bids
A JAPANESE PORCELAIN TABLE LAMP, 20TH CENTURY
Mar 05, 10:30 AM GMT
A JAPANESE PORCELAIN TABLE LAMP, 20TH CENTURY
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £400- £600
£4000 Bids
TWO 19TH C. JAPANESE PAINTED FOLDING SCREENS.
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
TWO 19TH C. JAPANESE PAINTED FOLDING SCREENS.
by William Smith Auctions
Est: $500- $800
$2500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Japanese Furniture


Turner Auctions + Appraisals

Turner Auctions + Appraisals

Abell Auction

Abell Auction

Schuler Auktionen

Schuler Auktionen

Auctions at Showplace

Auctions at Showplace