A Seat of Power
The word jiaoyi refers to a folding chair in use in China. Because the shape of its crossed legs resembles the Chinese word "交" (jiao), this chair is named as jiaoyi. Jiaoyi was introduced into central China during the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220) from the western regions. Due to the chair’s popularity, Han people stopped sitting on the ground and started to sit on the chair.
Because it is collapsible, the jiaoyi came in handy for use in outdoor activities. When an emperor felt tired on a hunting trip, his servants would carry out a jiaoyi for him to rest upon. Gradually, in this way, the use of a jiaoyi had been synonymous with power. Take the picture The Emperor Kangxi Inspecting the South as an example. We can see from the picture that Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722) is sitting on a jiaoyi in the middle of the stage, while others are standing right beside him.
The Emperor Kangxi Inspecting the South
The word jiaoyi is widely used in the Outlaws of the Marsh - one of four great classical novels. The story tells why and how 108 men and women, from different backgrounds, banded together on Liangshan Mountain, and fought battles against government troops, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Each of the 108 heroes has his or her jiaoyi.
In the novel, the first jiaoyi is used by the leader Song Jiang. In the following picture, Song Jiang sits in the middle area.