Tag Archives: huchuang

China A to Z: G is for Geezer Stools

I admit I made up the name for these. Here is why:

The folding stool is thought to have been introduced to China during the second century AD, at which time the Han emperor Lingdi was recorded to have had a fondness for foreign curiosities, including the ‘foreign barbarian seat’ (huchuang). This term referred to the folding stool, which was commonly used by nomadic tribes in the more remote northern and western regions. Its use spread throughout China over the following centuries. It became a popular seat for rulers and dignitaries when traveling or cruising on a boat, and its lightweight portability made it especially suitable for officers on military campaigns. Travelers convenient carried them over the shoulder, and even today, men and women use them to relax by the street side or while fishing along a canal.

From Classical Chinese Furniture website.

Moat around Qufu.

The stool is quintessentially China. They are everywhere. Many people have nicer ones to use as extra seating when they have guests (we have a few and I love them, you can also turn them into little tables by putting a try across the top). They are fairly comfortable, even the more basic ones, and Chinese people seem to favor them. When we had visitors from China and they saw our collection of geezer stools non of them would sit on the sofa.

A simple and practical solution for seating.

The style ranges from very basic to quite elaborate. My husband refers to one sent back to him as a gift as his “geezer throne”. You can find them at street vendors, convenience stores, supermarkets and some specialty stores.

My son says that some people call them “grasshopper stools” because of how you look when you sit on them (knees up high).