Shanxi Tapered Armoire with Carved Apron
Shanxi, circa 1860
This is one of the nicer tapered or 'round cornered' Chinese armoires that we have come across in recent years. It comes from Shanxi province from where many of the better quality antique cabinets still available today originate and is made from elm wood. The black lacquer finish is original, now crackled and worn to a dark grey. The simple door handles are also old. Quite narrow and tall and tapered from bottom to top, the cabinet has a beautifully sleek, elegant look. Cabinets like this one, with full length doors rather than an extra panel or drawers below, tend to be more highly valued as they are rarer, and this is a superb example. The open carved apron at the bottom is particularly special, depicting a pair of heavenly dragons. The cabinet has a fixed shelf inside along with two removable shelves. The style and quality, along with the carved dragon motif, suggest that it would have been produced for someone of considerable social status and it would certainly still take pride of place in any setting today.