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Chinese Antique Chests PDF Print E-mail

John Rogers: Hi this is John from Here in our continuing series of videos we're going to talk about chests. And the variety of chests available from China is absolutely incredible. I can't in a short video show you no more than a few representative samples. Here are two. These are low chests each characterized by having no drawers and having one pair of doors that open up to reveal an interior.

The difference between them is this has a long overhang over the principle part of the case while this is boxed in so that the top is essentially the same size as the case. These two chests are similar in that both are painted. But the one here on my right hand side is typically what is called a Mongolian type chest. It doesn't mean it's from Mongolia.

It could be Inner Mongolia or Shanxi. But a Mongolian type chest is characterized by a square or relatively boxed frame with the top and the sides together two drawers on the top matching in size on the top, flanked by two doors down below. This chest over here has two drawers, it has two doors, so what's the difference? The difference is in the overhang here.

This is not a Mongolian type chest. This chest is actually from Shanxi Province and I think is particularly interesting because it has a carved, raised carved design on the front of the drawers. As I look at that carving I believe it's a style that implies an image of a bat which is of course is the symbol in China for good fortune. This type chest is called a book chest. It's from Shandong Province. And the reason that I wanted to show it to you is because of its simple grace with carving down below.

But also this is one of the few pieces of furniture that have its original hinge. Let me show you. Not this part, this part has been replaced. But the hinge on the doors is original. You can see that there is supported by a style or a post in the top and a much shorter one in the base. Those are very easily broken as is obvious. And it causes many of the repairs that result in replaced hinges. Two more chests showing the range and variety of chests that are available with Chinese furniture.

This believe it or not is a set of drawers or a chest of drawers. Instead of pulling out however, each one lifts up. There's the cover. And each drawer stacks upon the other within a very highly decorated frame. This chest over here is a camphor chest called that simply because it's made out of camphor and it is resting on a stand that was made for this chest in order that it could be better utilized as a coffee table.

So these two examples are of the unique kinds of chests that are also available in the category of chests with Chinese furniture. Thanks so much for watching this video. Please do go to, sign up for our newsletter so that you may be made aware of additional videos as they're released and as we update our site. Thanks so much, take care. Bye-Bye.