Dark Elm Antique Altar Cabinet
Beijing, circa 1900
This large, winged sideboard was produced in Beijing in elm wood, with a lovely dark lacquer finish. The long extended top ends in raised 'flanges' that show its original religious purpose as an altar to family ancestors. The cabinet would have been positioned underneath portraits of deceased family members and joss sticks and offerings placed on top. The sides of the cabinet taper upwards slightly to give a very fluid look that would fit well into a contemporary setting, with minimal hardware on the doors adding to the sleek overall design. The post between the two central doors is removable for easier access to the inside. The hardware itself is a more recent replacement for the old brassware, most likely lost or removed during the 'Great Leap Forward'. At nearly a metre and a half wide, the sideboard would be a real focal point in a hallway or as a dining room buffet, with plenty of storage space inside the doors and three upper drawers.
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