A museum has just opened in western China displaying one of the country’s most ornate beds. The Bayu Ancient Bed Museum in Chongqing was formerly a wedding hall, but closed in August 2014 and reopened this week as a museum. Inside, 22 beds are on display – most of them from the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) – including what has been termed by museum curators as the ‘World’s Number 1 Bed’.
Made from 200g of gold sheets carved into ornate patterns of orchids, bamboo, butterflies, peonies and chrysanthemums, the bed was a Qing-dynasty dowry piece. It belonged to the wealthy Dai family and dates to the mid-1800s. It took a group of craftsman around three years to complete. The gold bed forms the Bayu Ancient Bed Museum’s crowning exhibit.
A number of other ancient Chinese beds are also on display in the museum, including the elaborate Ningbo bed, which had storage, wash basins and a toilet, as well as the Ming dynasty Babu bed, which has surrounding windows that form a kind of ‘cloister’. The museum’s other exhibits cover folk life in the Bayu region, including religion and spiritual beliefs, marriage customs and handicrafts.