Black Lacquer Floral Wedding Cabinet
Shanxi, circa 1900
This wonderful cabinet still shows its original lacquer and paintings, depicting various flora and fauna. It was produced in Shanxi province in central China and is a lovely example of the decorative cabinets produce in the region to be presented as part of a bride's dowry. The paintings on the doors would once have been much brighter, now faded to more muted reds, creams and greens. They show birds and different types of flowers, each with their own symbolism in Chinese culture, including plum blossom and peonies.
Above and at each side of the doors, the cabinet frames incorporate stylised dragon motifs in red and green, suggesting the high status of the original recipient of the cabinet. The bottom panel depicts an elegant vase, with bowls of fruit at either side - possibly pomegranates as a symbol for fertility and a wish for a fruitful marriage. A base of red lacquer shows below the worn black. Below this panel the cabinet's apron is beautifully carved to give a further decorative element.
At nearly six foot high and with its original detail the cabinet would make a wonderful statement piece in any room, with shelves inside for storage.
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