Red Lacquer Painted Armoire
Shanxi, circa 1880
This old armoire is still in its original cinnabar red colour. The paintings on the doors and bottom fixed panel were once in bright gold, the gold leaf applied by hand in a process referred to as 'miao jin'. The gold has largely worn away to show just the dark base underneath, leaving just subtle traces of the old paintings of landscapes. The scrolling pattern along the outer frames is slightly clearer, along with the detail of flowers on the front of the extended top. The doors fit directly into the cabinet frames on wooden hinges, providing a larger canvas for the painted decoration. As was traditional, the cabinet would most likely have been presented as part of the celebrations for a wedding, with red and gold considered the luckiest of colours for the bride and groom. There are two removable shelves inside which have been added recently, along with a removable board over the lower compartment.
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