The use of the daybed was manifold - during the day, it served as a sitting platform; at night a bed. Due to its simple design and light weight, the daybed was a versatile piece of furniture, easily suited for both indoor and outdoor purposes. Woodblock prints dating from the Ming dynasty often show scholars or ladies relaxing on daybeds in garden settings or along riverbanks. For uses of the daybed as indoor and outdoor seating during the Ming dynasty, refer to Wang et al., Masterpieces from the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture, Chicago and San Francisco, 1995, p. 6.
The elegant proportions of the present example is highlighted by the bold beaded edge. The ruyi-head carved in the corners is an unusual and elegant feature. Ruyi-heads are a common decorative feature in furniture, integrated into the design of tables, canopy beds, and chairs. A related huanghuali daybed, dated to the late sixteenth century, which features stylized ruyi heads at the corners was sold at Christie's New York, 21 September 2004, lot 1494. A related huali kang table, dated to 1550-1600 and illustrated in Craig Clunas, Chinese Furniture, London, 1988, p. 61, pl. 50, also exhibits similar treatment of a ruyi head ornament carved in relief at the corners.