Camphor Wood Chests

Camphor Wood Chest

Beautiful camphor wood chests and trunks for your home

Camphor wood chests have been a feature of Chinese homes for many hundreds of years and were used to store clothes, fabrics and other precious items. Here at Shimu we offer a range of beautiful camphor wood trunks which includes both antique and newly made pieces. Ideal for modern interiors, these wonderful items are perfect for storage or to use as a coffee table or blanket box.


Why Camphor Wood?

Camphor wood (Cinnamomum camphora) offers a number of benefits; in particular its beautiful grain and natural resistance to insects. Camphor trees are large evergreens which can grow to huge sizes, often developing trunks of five metres in diameter. When camphor wood is cut it emits an intense fragrance which doesn’t diminish over time and it is this aroma which deters insects such as moths. Certain species of camphor tree have an attractive and distinctive grain known as ‘tiger skin’. This unusual grain is highly prized and once polished, adds a unique patina and lustre.

In Chinese households clothes were never hung vertically as we do in the West. Instead, clothing and pieces of fabric were carefully folded and stored in wooden chests or on shelves in tall cabinets. Wooden chests were used to store clothes throughout China and would be taken whilst travelling, often in stackable sets. Camphor wood chests were popular in northern and eastern China, whilst pine was the wood of choice for chests made in central and western China.

The majority of our antique camphor wood trunks and chests are sourced by us directly from Beijing and surrounding areas. Many are fairly plain in design, with simple decoration in the form of heavy brass handles and hardware. Chests made in southern China were often carved with ornate decoration; camphor wood is very hard and as such takes carving easily, with many pieces being made specifically for export in the early 20th century.

Our ever-changing range of antique camphor trunks and chests mainly tends to include pieces which date from the early 20th century from the Beijing area. Most have been stripped back to reveal the natural beauty of the pale camphor wood before being resealed. However, we occasionally arrange to have some of them stained in darker shades. The unique aroma of camphor is still present in antique chests as the scent doesn’t fade over time, but the exception to this is ‘yellow camphor’ which doesn’t retain its scent and as such is less prized.

Discover our range of Chinese trunks and chests

At Shimu we have a wide range of beautiful Chinese trunks and chests, with options to suit all tastes and interiors. Our antique camphor wood chests are carefully selected by us and imported from China and because each piece is unique, our range varies according to what we have in stock at the time. If we don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll aim to source it for you.

Alongside our antique camphor trunks we also offer a stunning range of antique opera trunks decorated in exquisitely intricate painted designs, lacquered blanket boxes, document chests, travel chests and Shangdong trunks. Each piece is completely unique and these special pieces are as practical as they are beautiful, making them ideal for stowing away clutter, bedding and more.

Our collection of newly made Chinese classical furniture is handmade in China from reclaimed hardwoods and includes a collection of elegant trunks and chests available in either lacquered or natural wood finishes. Many of our new pieces are made in designs which replicate originals and feature decorative brass hardware and handles, and built with strong, traditional dovetail joints. Perfect for a wide range of practical uses, our Chinese classical trunks are ideal for storing towels or bedding, or for use as a bedside table or side table.

If you can’t get enough of the special aroma of camphor wood, why not take a look at our range of decorative camphor carvings? These unique ornamental pieces are made from camphor wood logs which have been cut and then hollowed out to form distinctive shapes. Our camphor wood carvings are available in different sizes and look stunning when placed upon Chinese style furniture such as coffee tables, sideboards and cabinets.

Beautiful Chinese furniture and accessories for your home

Chinese furniture is perfect for modern living, with simple, elegant styling which complements contemporary interiors. Here at Shimu we offer a huge range of beautiful items, from original antique furniture including cabinets, chests, chairs and tables, through to newly made pieces. In addition, we also have a collection of superb quality decorative accessories and homewares such as bedding, lighting, soft furnishings, wall art and much more.

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