Low Elm Panelled Coffer
Hebei, circa 1820
This lovely old storage coffer is in pine wood, produced in the northern Chinese province of Hebei around two hundred years ago. It would originally have been used for storing documents and valuables, with a 'hidden' space in the lower section accessed by removing the three drawers. The drawers themselves each show a simple carving over the handle, with a similar design carved onto the botton apron. The standout feature though is the wonderful, open carving on each of the spandrels, finished in a now worn green lacquer. The symetrical carvings each show an ornate floral pattern that tapers down towards the feet, incorporating an 'eternal knot' symbol towards the bottom.
The chest is in its original dark finish, worn on the front of the drawers and on the top to a lovely patina. It's nicely proportion for use in a modern setting either as an unusual coffee table or as a stand for a TV, with useful storage space inside.
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