Pair of Cream Leather Travel Chests
Tianjin, circa 1900
These handsome storage chests are made from wood but covered in a cream leather, now marked and discoloured over time. The chests are from Tianjin on China's east coast, produced around the beginning of the 20th century for storing clothes and possessions either in the home or when travelling. Blanket chests were commonly used in China for clothing, often stacked in pairs or sets. Here the maker's mark is stamped in black onto the bottom right of each trunk and the brass clasps on the front are original. Inside the chests are lined with fabric - one in a blue floral pattern and the other in pink, so these were possibly meant for a husband and wife.
There is a label inside each lid, giving details and a description of the manufacturer - the 'Tong Hai Xiang Leather Suitcase Shop'. The shop 'has ingenious craftsmen using genuine water buffalo leather to produce all kinds of high quality bags and suitcases'. Stack the two chests one on top of the other as an unsual side table, with useful storage space inside. Sold as a pair, the price shown is for the two trunks.
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