Painted Three Door Coffer

c. 1850
$5,680 USD SOLD
W: 70.5" D: 15.5" H: 34.0"
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This provincial coffer from northern China has a simple, clean-lined form embellished with black lacquer and hand-painted inset panels. The cabinet was crafted in the mid-19th century with mortise-and-tenon joinery methods, without the use of nails or screws. Originally configured to open from the top, the coffer's paneled front has been modified into three doors that open to reveal a spacious interior with a single shelf.

The cabinet front is divided into three inset panels, each decorated with whimsical folk paintings. Originally brushed atop a bright yellow background, the paintings have been darkened with a light brown wash for a moody, autumnal color palette. The center panel depicts a beautiful arrangement of display stands and vases filled with lush peonies and citron fruits. The outer panels are painted with “shan shui” landscapes of rolling hills and mountains dotted with pine and willow trees. The apron panels are decorated with lotus flowers for purity, bamboo stalks for integrity and strength, and prunus branches for perseverance and hope.

Ideal as a sideboard or credenza, this three-door cabinet enriches modern interiors with a rich patina and warm colors.

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