Fine Asian Furniture & Art
Circa: Ming-Qing (17th Century)
Dimensions: 81.5”w x 34.5”h x 24.5”d
Function: Altar table in the home
Condition: Very good, original hardware, some replacements (spandrels)
The solid panel top begins to reveal the age of this piece. Full-bodied and powerfully built, this three drawer coffer is decorated with open-work carved spandrels and pierced carvings of lotus blossoms on the bottom apron. The lock mechanism serves as drawer pulls; this original hardware is reflective of Shanxi region design. Locust, a dense, heavy, moisture resistant wood, is often found in Ming (1368-1644 ce) pieces.
Coffers (altar tables with drawers) are not found in the painted documentation created by the literati scholars. Therefore, it is believed, they were tools of the woman’s domain. A scholar’s pursuit of the ‘higher virtues’ may rarely have brought him into contact with the tools associated with the woman’s region of the household.