Set of Four Antique Carved Fretwork Window Panels

product code: ASC-RGX-230518A
D4.5 x H100 x W39 x cm

Zhejiang, circa 1830

This exquisite set of four hardwood panels is part of a set of sixteen that were saved from a traditional house in Zhejiang province, eastern China, before its refurbishment. They date from the early nineteenth century and, with their detailed central carvings and fine, intricate surrounding lattice work, they show some of the highest level of craftsmanship we have seen in surviving Chinese antique furniture. Unlike most fretwork panels, which fit individual lengths of wood together with mortise and tenon joints to create a pattern, these are each carved from a single piece of wood. They would have been produced by a master craftsman at the top of his profession and commissioned for installation in the home of a family of considerable wealth.

The panels would have been used together to screen off part of a 'siheyuan' courtyard house, quite possibly providing a vista onto the main internal courtyard. The open lattice sections would allow air to flow around the home during the hot summer months, while also providing a level of privacy for the occupants.

The main central carvings are in deep relief on several levels, each depicting scenes from a traditional Chinese folk tale. The sixteen panels would have been placed in an order to represent the whole story, with the various characters and scenes shown accordingly. The detail is extraordinary, from the faces and costumes of the various figures represented to the tiled rooftops and flowers and leaves on the trees. Each panel is set with a surrounding frame in open lattice carving, incorporating elements of flora and fauna with symbolic meaning. These include double coin motifs for prosperity and bats to represent good luck. At the bottom of each panel is a further section in carved relief. Some of these also feature auspicious animals or scenes from folklore, while others show a selection of valuable objects - vases, bronzes and even fine furniture.

The panels are a wonderful example of the skill and craftsmanship of the master carvers of Zhejiang and other southern Chinese provinces and represent a dying art. They would make a superb decorative feature on a wall in a modern home, with a link to a bygone age.

Sold as a set of four panels, the price shown is for the set.

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Our delivery charges are based on weight and size and will be calculated before you confirm you order. We will only charge up to a maximum of £45 (or £55 if you require the items to be unpacked) for a standard UK weekday delivery. For example, if your order contains a large furniture item and two small items, the delivery charge to room of choice will be £45 for a weekday delivery.

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At Shimu we want you to be delighted with any item you buy from us. For this reason we offer a returns policy that gives you complete peace of mind. If for any reason you are unhappy with your purchase when it arrives, you can simply ask our delivery driver to return the item to our warehouse. We will then either replace it for you or provide you with a full refund exluding any delivery charge.

We also provide you with a 14 day cooling off period. Simply inform us within 14 days of the item being delivered that you wish to cancel the order. We will then arrange for the item to be picked up and returned to us and will provide you with a credit for other Shimu products or a full refund excluding the cost of return. All that we ask is that the item is returned to us in an unused condition and in its original packaging. For full details see our terms and conditions.

Our furniture is extremely well packed for shipping but in the rare event that the goods you receive arrive damaged please contact us as soon as possible on 0800 088 6800 (01274 610961 from a mobile) or by email at We will arrange to either have the item repaired if appropriate and if agreed with you, or to collect the damaged item and organise a replacement or full refund.



Lacquered furniture should need little cleaning other than the regular use of a dry, soft cloth or duster. To remove any stains, use a dry or slightly damp cloth. Avoid the use of too much water as this will affect the surface. Frequent waxing should not be needed but can be carried out every couple of months using a good quality natural beeswax. Do not use the cheaper silicone furniture sprays as these may affect the finish. Never use any abrasive cleaning products or chemicals.

Products in a natural finish can be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth. Use a natural beeswax every few months to protect and nourish the wood.

Do not place hot or wet items directly onto the product surface as this can mark the finish. Clean any spills as soon as possible.

Avoid placing your furniture near a radiator or other heat source as this can lead to the wood drying out and shrinking, causing cracks or splitting. Ideally, leave at least a metre between your furniture and any heat source. Avoid also placing your furniture in strong, direct sunlight as the colour may fade over time.


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