Painted Black Gansu Coffer
Gansu, circa 1900
This elegant storage coffer comes from Gansu province in western China. The piece is made in a 'butterfly' style - with the beautifully shaped side spandrels tapering down to the feet and complemented by the curved apron. The original paintings are still visible and show vases of flowers with other objects of status. There is also a beautiful scrolling design around the drawer handles. The door in the bottom section has been added recently. Originally this would have been a fixed panel, with the space behind it used to store valuables and accessible only by removing the two upper drawers.