Arched Carved Marriage Bed Fascia
Anhui, circa 1850
This extraordinary carved panel is from Anhui province, west of Shanghai. It once formed the front of a large Chinese four-poster marriage bed and was salvaged as a single piece that could be used as a striking headboard for a modern bed or would make a fantistic individual wall decoration.
The panel is in elm wood, split into numerous framed sections that each feature detailed relief and open carvings. These carved sections would originally have been in a rich red lacquer picked out in gold, each inset within the rounded dark frames. The red has worn and faded to a less vivid tone and much of the gold has worn away, leaving a more subtle, aged look that adds to the sense of history.
The carvings are extremely detailed and feature all kinds of creatures - both real and mythical - along with flowers and personal items. Set centrally at the top is a pair of kylin - the scaled, hoofed beast of Chinese legend. On the narrow, long panel below these are three bats, representing good luck. Other carvings include a pair of fish, symbolising abundance and fertility for the married couple, and cranes for long life.
This is a rare and unique piece that would make a wonderful feature in any setting. In its original, authentic condition and very well preserved given its age.
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