Carved Tapered Cabinet
Shanxi, circa 1850
This wonderful cabinet is in a highly original condition, with its original dark lacquer finish still in place but now worn to show the more natural colour of the wood around the base and feet. It features some beautiful carvings on the doors, drawers and sides showing flowers and animals that are important in Chinese culture, and which suggest that the original owner was a man of some status. The left hand drawer shows a horse in carved relief - one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac and said to symbolise endurance and devotion, while the right drawer shows a deer to represent long life. The doors are each set within rounded frames and fit directly into the cabinet on wooden dowels. Each one includes a circular open carving showing a Chinese unicorn or 'kylin' - a mythical beast with a scaled body and dragon's head and a symbol for prosperity. The cabinet is in a slightly tapered A-frame shape with an extended top surface. The doors and drawers both have a clasp that allowed them to be locked, so the cabinet could well have been used to hold some of the owner's prized possessions. It is a beautiful piece full of character that would provide a great statement piece in any home today.