Pair of Elm Chinese Apothecary Chests
Shanxi, circa 1900
These beautiful chests of drawers would originally have been used by a Chinese apothecary to store the various herbs, roots and other remedies used in Chinese medicine. They were produced in Shanxi province, made from elm wood, and are still in their original finish - a dark, rich brown that shows off the lovely grain and character of the wood perfectly. The thick outer frames continue down to form the legs of each chest, with both the front and back ending in horse hoof feet. The legs of both chests have been sympathetically restored as these were in need of repair, but otherwise the two items are in an original condition.
Each chest holds twenty small drawers, with each drawer divided internally into two sections. The front of each drawer is labelled with six characters to indicate the contents that would have been held inside each section. In some cases the characters appear to have been added over earlier ones as the apothecary obviously made changes to his inventory. The contrasting cream characters against the dark finish, along with the uniform brass ring handles, give a lovely warm tone and feel to each chest and they would look wonderful placed in alcoves either side of a fireplace or bed or, as they would have been originally, placed side by side to provide a large, impressive sideboard.
Sold together as a pair, the price shown is for the two chests.
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