Black Painted Chinese Antique Coffer
Gansu, circa 1900
The shaped feet on this lovely old coffer are distinctive of furniture from Gansu province in western China. Like much of the furniture from the eastern part of the region it is made from pine, finished in black lacquer. The profile is in a sleek, elegant 'butterfly' style - the beautifully shaped side spandrels tapering down to the feet and complemented by the curved apron. Around the bottom drawer are original paintings of flowers in soft green and cream. An inscription to the right is likely to be a message for good luck or prosperity. The bottom drawer itself is certainly a recent addition, added by cutting into the lower section. Originally only the upper three drawers would have been present. As the space below them could only be accessed by removing the drawer above, this part of the coffer would have been used to store money and valuables.