Large Elm Cabinet with Carved Apron
Shanxi, circa 1880
This stunning tall cabinet is in its original black lacquer finish, largely still intact but now worn and aged to a softer tone. The cabinet's style is very simple, in a square-cornered design with thick frames and flush sides, and there are two removable shelves inside. The main decorative element on the cabinet is the wonderful apron at the bottom, decorated in carved relief with an intricate symmetrical pattern showing scrolling dragons. The cabinet's simple style and sleek, dark finish mean that it would suit different interior styles as an impressive statement piece, with plenty of storage space inside.
Unusually, the circular brass hardware and handles on the doors are original. These were often lost or removed to be smelted down for iron during China's 'Great Leap Forward' so it is rare to find an original set still in place. Shanxi furniture tended to survive the ravages of that period better than most, being cut off from surrounding provinces by mountain ranges and having a plentiful supply of coal to burn. Even so this is a particularly well preserved and original example.
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