Large Armoire with Carved Panels
Jiangsu, circa 1860
Produced in the city of Nanjing in Jiangsu province - once China's capital during the Ming dynasty - this large, impressive cabinet features some finely chiseled carvings on each of the doors. Each of the foor doors is split into four panels, two large and two small, with various decorative themes. The four lower panels show various birds and flowers including fruit trees, songbirds, a chicken and heron - all with symbolic meaning. Above these are four smaller panels showing a continous wall and guard towers, while the larger panels towards the top depict various characters and scenes from Chinese legend. Finally the small panels at the top of each door show a pair of fish - representative of abundance, prosperity and good fortune.
The doors themselves are fitted with long, rectangular hardware etched with flowers and an inscription. They are hinged on rounded wooden dowels that slot into semi-circular holders above and below, these also featuring animal carvings. The two outer doors can be fixed in place with internal wooden tenons that can be slid across and there is a fixed shelf with a shallow drawers fitted inside along with a further removable shelf above. The space at the bottom behind the lower panel of the cabinet, which has had a repair to the lower right hand side, can also be accessed by removing a half board, providing even more storage space.
The fine carvings on the front of the cabinet make it a real standout piece and, with its imposing dimensions it would make a real statement in any setting.
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