Large Chinese Elm Altar Cabinet
Hebei, circa 1900
The raised flanges at each end of the top surface on this cabinet show that it would have been used as an altar to ancestors, most likely also doubling as a as a storage unit in the home. The thick legs taper slightly up to the top, and at either side is a highly decorative spandrel in carved relief, showing gourd plants in a design which symbolise family prosperity. The two central doors are mounted with heavy, circular brass hinges and have a removable centre post between them. The old lacquer has aged and worn to a reddish brown over the elm wood underneath. Perfect as a dining sideboard or for storage in a reception room, with plenty of storage space available as the doors give access to the full width inside the cabinet.
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