Painted Opera Storage Trunk
Shanxi, circa 1890
This brightly decorated blanket trunk is of a type used by Chinese opera companies to store costumes and other effects as they toured their productions. The front of the trunks would often be painted like this one to show scenes from the opera the troupe was showing. In this case the main, central painting shows three figures dressed in colourful robes, with the character to the right holding a bow and arrow and possibly representing Hou Yi - the great archer of Chinese mythology.
Surrounding the central scene are various flowers and butterflies - each one symbolic in Chinese culture for long life, happiness or good fortune. A large vase of flowers is painted to each side. The colours are still strong, though less vivid than they would have been when first painted and though worn in parts the lacquered finish and paintings are largely intact. The chest has a simple metal clasp set centrally to the front of the lid that would have enabled it to be secured. A lovely piece with its own unique history, the chest is great for general storage and a nice height to be used as a side table next to a bed or sofa.
Use code FREEUK on orders over £1000 for free standard delivery to most UK mainland addresses