Low platforms, which were used as honorific seats, were the earliest type of raised seating furniture to appear in China. Sitting platforms were called ta; the relatively longer chuang was used both for sitting and reclining. By the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), the platform had increased in height with decorative panels or kunmen-shaped openings decorating the sides.
When daybeds (ta) were made in ancient times, although the length and width were not standardized, they were invariably antique, elegant and delightful when placed in a studio or room. There was no way in which they were not convenient, whether for sitting up, lying down or reclining. In moments of pleasant relaxation they would spread out classic or historical texts, examine works of calligraphy or painting, display ancient bronze vessels, arrange dishes of food and fruit, or set out a pillow and woven mat.
Wen Zhengheng, Early 17th century
Wen's descriptive imagery recalls painted scenes from the Song and Yuan paintings wherein scholarly gentlemen recline on platforms surrounded with the trappings of the literati lifestyle.
During the late Ming, some sophisticated connoisseurs preferred the archaic style of the box-style platform over the modern daybeds with free-standing legs. Although the old tradition gave way to popular fashion, some limited use continued throughout the Qing dynasty (1644-1912).