Hongmu

Hongmu

No early references to hongmu have yet been discovered; however, the equivalent southern Chinese term 'suanzhi' appears during the middle Qing period—its literal meaning, 'sourwood' describes the pungent odor emitted when it is worked. Most of the dark heavily carved Qing period furniture is made from hongmu. Also called 'blackwood', it can resemble zitan but lacks the latters deep lustrous surface and its 'crab-claw markings'. There is also a light variety which can be difficult to distinguish from huanghuali.