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Couch Bed, 17th century. Tieli and jichimu woods, 32 1/8 x 81 3/4 x 50 7/8 in. (81.6 x 207.65 x 129.22 cm). Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton 97.129a-e ©2014 Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404

This large waisted couch is constructed primarily from tielimu, a hardwood with a coarse, fibrous structure that is extremely dense and strong. Less expensive than huanghuali but, equal in strength, it was a good timber to meet the structural demands imposed by the long spans of the standard couch bed frame. Perhaps because he was working with a wood that lacked the innate beauty of huanghuali, the cabinetmaker has created visual interest by decorating the three solid board rails with dragon roundels carved in high relief.