A NORTHERN CHINESE CINNABAR RED LACQUER CABINET, SHANXI PROVINCE, MING DYNASTY, 17TH CENTURY
This cabinet reflects the refined taste of Ming Dynasty elite, while combining all the skilled design principles associated with Shanxi cabinet making. The superb design incorporates a minimal splay of 3cm from top to bottom at the front and this is repeated on the sides. Not only does this strengthen the structure of the piece but is also visually pleasing, which is echoed by the slightly rounded frame members. It is important to note that the inside of the door frame members are finished with the same skill and precision as on the outside, thus creating a mirror effect when the doors are opened. Close inspection reveals faint traces of finely rendered cartouches, Artimisia leaves and floral sprays in a paler red hue on the frontal surfaces. These faint patterns are all that remains of what would have been detail applied in gold, shielding the underlying lacquer. These remains indicate that the lacquer is original and that the cabinet has not been refinished over time.
The floating panels are covered in a thick , tightly woven fabric to which a layer of fine grey clay is applied - this was done to protect the structure against moisture and insect damage. The top and bottom sections are coated in a thick black lacquer, while the front and sides have a layer of brown lacquer underneath the layer of red. Large iron nails secure the pivot hinges to the doors but due to the corrosive nature of the metal, the fabric and clay has worn away to expose the large iron nail-heads. The inside of the piece is lacquered with a deep brown-black lacquer.
R130 000 – R150 000