Large Antique Tapered Elm Cabinet
Shanxi circa 1880
This beautiful, elegantly styled cabinet is in a classic 'round cornered' style that was common throughout China for hundreds of years. The ingenious design incorporates doors set with rounded frames, set directly into the cabinet frames above and below on wooden dowels to give a very sleek, minimal look that, though centuries old, still looks contemporary. The rounded outer frames of the cabinet extend down to form the legs, with a subtle upward taper from the floor to the overhanging cabinet top. This simple design gives a sense of fluidity and upward movement. The central post between the doors is a feature that appeared later on in Chinese furniture, mainly for aesthetic purposes. It can be removed to give easier access to the full space inside.
The cabinet is made from elm wood, like much of the better quality pieces produced in Shanxi province. The original finish would once have been darker but is now in a golden brown that picks out the beautifully patterned wood perfectly. The tall, mountain like grain on the two doors is well matched, a detail normally seen on better quality antique cabinets and on more expensive hardwood furniture produced for the court. The simple dark hardware and handles on the doors is old, perfectly in keeping with minimalist, pure style of the cabinet. There is a fixed shelf with two small drawers on the inside, as well as a further removable shelf above. The space behind the bottom panel can also be accessed for additional 'hidden' storage.
The cabinet is in wonderful, authentic condition and would grace any room, with a stripped back look and rich tone that would fit easily into a neutral colour scheme.
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