Tapered Chinese Armoire in Elm Wood
Shanxi, circa 1880
This simple, tall cabinet is in elm wood and was produced in Shanxi province, central China towards the end of the nineteenth century. The shape is in the 'round cornered' style seen throughout China - one of the most ingenious seen in furniture making. The doors are set within rounded frames, with a wooden dowel at the top and bottom sitting directly in the cabinet frames. This does away with the need for external metal hinges and gives the cabinet a very pure, elegant look that is enhanced by the slight taper from bottom to top. A round sided extended lid sits over the side frames to complete this beautiful design. It is difficult to tell whether this particular cabinet was once lacquered, but it now shows off the lovely elm wood with its attractive, wide grain. The cabinet has very simple hardware on the doors (dating from when it was made) and a removable centre post - a feature that appeared in Chinese furniture later on that was more aesthetic than practical. The upper shelf on the inside is removable, while the lower shelf includes two small drawers.