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Mohism in Chinese furniture and design


Not as well-known as some of the other Chinese philosophical schools, Mohism is still a valuable and interesting philosophy that we incorporate into our designs at The Nine Schools. It's one of the nine schools we're named after, that were written about by Le Xun, Ah Q and has a fascinating story.

A quick introduction to Mohism

Mohism was a school of philosophy in ancient China that started with the Chinese philosopher Mozi, who lived from 470-391 BC. Around the same time as other famous Chinese schools of philosophy, Mohism was most well-known for its concept of 'Impartial Care' and 'Universal Love'. These values aren't as simple as they first appear, Mohism puts forward the idea that equal care and attention should be paid to everyone, regardless of your relationship with them. High moral standards and strict ethics were important in Mohism, as was self-awareness and reflection. Many saw Mozi as a hero of the people, with his contributions to society, measured approach and actions stemming from his belief in love for all of mankind.

Universal Love in design

This approach to design encourages artists and designers to make incredible work of exquisite quality in every single piece. No matter what or who the piece is for, it should be the very best possible. Equal care and love should be applied to every single work, and at The Nine Schools we appreciate this and use it in our craft.

Mozi and his influence

Mozi, the leader of Mohism, was a skilled carpenter and artisan, who invented and created a wide range of designs, from fortifications to mechanical birds and his thorough and care orientated approach meant he was successful in the administration of the time. Many of his followers were craftspeople and technicians, and his influence can be seen in a wide range of Chinese culture and beliefs. His utilitarian, frugal approaches can be found in the high-quality, simple and practical elements found in Chinese furniture design. He had little time for luxury, wastefulness and ceremony.

Mohism now

Mohism didn't remain too long as one of the premier schools of Chinese thought, dying out and being absorbed by other philosophies. However, its influence and principles can be found in many aspects of Chinese culture. The principle of Universal Love, equally high standards for everyone and an efficient and conscious approach all find their roots in Mohism.