Large Shanxi Painted Armoire
Shanxi, circa 1860
This stunning painted armoire, with its impressive size and proportions, would make a fantastic statement piece - though you would need a large space to house it! It comes from Shanxi province in central China and still has its original red lacquer finish and paintings. This style of cabinet, with an open shelf section above the doors, is known as 'wanli' in Chinese. The top shelf is framed with wonderful open carvings that include a central long life symbol and a bat (symbolising good fortune) at each corner. This would have held prized ornaments, with books and other personal items stored inside the cupboard section. The paintings on the doors and outer panels, now less vibrant than they once were but still clearly visible, show flowers, birds, butterflies and blossom in now muted browns. There are also inscriptions in Chinese characters painted just below the shelf and on the bottom apron - most likely messages for good fortune to the recipient of the cabinet or details of when and where it was presented. The artist's 'chop' is also still visible towards the top left of the cabinet. The heavy brass hardware is concaved and at 33cm diameter is in proportion to the doors. Inside the cabinet there are two removable shelves, as well as a third plank shelf that sits over the 'hidden compartment' at the bottom. This is a unique, extraordinary piece - sure to impose itself as the ultimate statement furniture in the right setting. Please note that it is extremely large and heavy so be sure to check access before ordering and call us to discuss delivery options.