Chinese Merchants Chest
Shanxi, circa 1880
This simple little chest would have been used by a Chinese merchant to carry his wares as he travelled the towns and villages. Made from thick elm and in a now worn black lacquer, it has a brass clasp and supporting metalware at each corner, on the sides and even on the top edge. At the bottom, both front and back, are small holes towards the left and right edges. These were designed to take ropes or rods so that the chest could be transported more easily when the merchant was travelling. The chest still has its old hinges and, with useful storage space inside, it is a good size for use as a side table with real character.