Tapered Side Cabinet
Shanxi, circa 1860
The elegant tapered shape of this cabinet is a design that developed hundreds of years ago in China - one of the most visually appealing seen in Chinese furniture. The rounded frames of the doors fit directly into the upper and lower frames of the cabinet, meaning that metal hinges are not necessary and resulting in a wonderfully pure, clean appearance. This particular cabinet is from Shanxi in central China and has a central post between the two doors that can be removed to fit larger items inside. This central post is something that appeared later on Chinese cabinets, seemingly for purely aesthetic reasons. Pieces like this - referred to as 'round-cornered' cabinets - were also produced in larger sizes for storing clothes and bedding, but smaller versions like this were popular among the scholarly classes for holding books and documents. As such they often referred to as 'scholar's cabinets'. This one is in elm wood and has a single fixed shelf inside with two small internal drawers.