Black Lacquer Wedding Cabinet with Floral Paintings
Shanxi, circa 1860
Shanxi province in central China is well know for its painted furniture, including wedding cabinets like this one in red and black lacquer. These large cabinets with shelves inside would be filled with silks and fabrics and presented as part of a bride's dowry. The door hardware on this cabinet is new - it is rare to find pieces like this with old hardware, but the black lacquer and now faded paintings are original. The doors are decorated with various flowers, birds and butterflies - symbols for marital happiness. The bottom apron below the doors includes a central painting of a smling boy, seated on a lotus leaf and holding a fish. This is a traditional symbol in China for abundance, with the child believed to act as a protector and to bring good things to the lives of the newlyweds. The doors are mounted are wooden dowel hinges, providing a simple canvas for the beautiful paintings. Two shelves inside are both removable.