Painted Gansu Storage Trunk
Gansu, circa 1900
This unusual painted trunk is from Gansu in western China. It is made from pine and the style, painted in once bold colours and with a carved frame around the top and sides of the front panel, is distinctive of furniture from the eastern part of the region. Often these kind or storage chests are adapted to make cabinets by converting the front panel into doors. This one though is still in its original form, with a small removable panel in the top providing access to the interior. The central, circular painting shows flowers in blues and reds set on a cream background - in contrast to the surrounding orange colour. Once used for storing grain, the chest may not be the most practical item of furniture in a modern home but would certainly be a beautiful talking point.