Shanxi Black Painted Armoire
Shanxi, circa 1920
This beautiful cabinet is in a style that is distinctive of the painted furniture of Shanxi province in central China. The black lacquer surface is wonderfully decorated with paintings that show various birds, butterflies and flowers - all auspicious symbols to bring the owner good fortune and wealth. The frame of the cabinet is also decorated, showing circular long life symbols and stylised dragons. The colours would once have been brighter, but have softened over time to more muted, autumnal shades that contrast beautifully with the black surface. The doors are set on wooden dowels that fit directly into the top and bottom frames, allowing a larger surface for the paintings, and are finished with small rectangular brass hardware. Inside the cabinet are two newly added removable shelves, as well as a removable board that fits over the hidden storage section in the bottom. With a newly applied clear, shiny lacquer that brings out the lovely decoration, the cabinet would bring a slice of history and interest as an accent piece in any room.
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