Decorative Shanxi Painted Sideboard
Shanxi, circa 1900
This stunning sideboard would be a real talking point in any space. It originates from Shanxi province, made with carved spandrels that taper down to the feet giving it an elegant, fluid profile. The sideboard is made from pine, finished in a once vibrant red lacquer that has faded to a more neutral orange brown, beautifully decorated with paintings of flowers and vases. Whilst the paintings would once have stood out in contrast to the dark red base, the worn, muted tones created over time have resulted in a wonderful, subtle blend of colours that would fit easily into many interiors, adding a charm and sense of history to a space.
Furniture from Shanxi and other regions was often lacquered and brightly decorated with symbolic flowers to represent happiness, good fortune and long life. Similarly, prized personal items such as bronze vessels and vases would be depicted to suggest the rank and status of the owner.
The configuration of the doors and drawers here indicate that the cabinet may have been used as a storage coffer for money or valuables. Below the four upper drawers is a single, small set of doors on the left hand side that opens up to a storage space with a single shelf. On the right hand side is a single wider drawer. The 'hidden' space below, accessible only be removing the drawer, would have been used to hold important documents or valuable items, Both sides of the sideboard would orginally have been secured with large circular lock plates, and there are still visible outlines remaining to show where these would once have been positioned.
The sideboard has been updated with a new varnish to seal it and to deepen the colours. It is an unusual, one-of-a-kind piece with a distinctive aesthetic to be enjoyed for many more years to come.
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