Black Painted Shanxi Wedding Cabinet
Shanxi, circa 1920
The once bright paintings on this large Shanxi cabinet have faded to soft, autumnal oranges and greens against the black lacquer surface. The finish and paintings are original, though newly lifted with a shiny clear varnish over the surface. The cabinet is a good example of the painted furniture of Shanxi province, with pieces like this often referred to as 'wedding cabinets' as they were given as part of a bride's dowry, loaded with fine silks and fabrics. Usually in red or black like this one, they would be painted with various designs often incorporating bronzes and vase of flowers that would denote the wealth and status of the benefactor. The doors here, fitted with new circular hardware to replace the lost original, are slotted directly into the cabinet frames with wooden dowels, giving a larger, purer canvas for the beautiful paintings. The inside includes two removable shelves along with a further removable board at the bottom which gives access to a 'secret' section behind the bottom panel.
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