Red and Gold Shanxi Wedding Cabinet
Shanxi, circa 1860
Other than the square hardware on the doors, which is a more recent replacment, this beautiful cabinet is in its original condition, with the old red lacquer finish and gold decoration. The cabinet would have been produced as part of a wedding dowry, presented to the couple by the bride's parents along with its contents. Red and gold are considered lucky colours in China and so it was common for wedding cabinets to be finished in this way.
The gold leaf was applied over a darker painted base to decorate the lacquered cabinets using a technique known as 'miao jin'. Over time the gold tended to wear away and so in most cases cabinets like this have been retouched or completely repainted over the years. Here the paintings are original and, though worn, it is still possible to make out details of the landscape scenes on the doors and lower panel. The red lacquer itself has also worn in parts, particularly around the feet and on the top frame, giving a unique patina and character to this wonderful piece.
The large doors fit directly into the cabinet's frames on wooden dowels, providing a larger open space for the decorative paintings. There are two removable shelves inside, and a removable half board covers the area behind the lower panel, providing additional 'hidden' storage space. With a unique character formed over more than a century and in an authentic, original condition, this stunning cabinet would make a fantastic statement piece for storage in a living room or bedroom.
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