Antique Miniature Gilt Cabinet with Side Carving, China (19223BAK) $435


H: 15.25”  W: 11.125”  D: 4.875” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

This cabinet painted in auspicious red and gilt with block feet and a scalloped apron is especially charming with front door panels decorated with raised rectangular registers bordered in black and gilt and a bottom drawer with original metal pulls decorated with painted florals. The ornate side panel has two small and one large deeply carved registers:  the bottom two registers have floral images: one has a peony, and the other is a couple under a willow tree.


This small antique elmwood cabinet from Fujian, a city known for ornate furniture for a newly emerging nouveau riche merchant class towards the end of the Qing dynasty. A center for mostly vernacular furniture and accessories from 1850-1930, their production was destined for ordinary people unconnected to the imperial court. Their mini cabinets were constructed the same way as large cabinets using red lacquer frames with deeply carved decorations mortise-and-tenon joints, tongue and groove fittings and other techniques to make them secure. Small cabinets were given as wedding gifts as a wish for many (male) children, with commonly recognized auspicious symbols and designs carved and painted in red and gold as the wish for fu and the Five Blessings or Happinesses. The peony symbolizes spring and is a metaphor for female beauty, a wish for fertility and the young couple to have many sons. The willow like the peony, represents spring, the season of youth, new beginnings, optimism and fertility, and its beauty, suppleness and frailty symbolize feminine traits. In Buddhism, it is a sign of humility, meekness and Guanyin, who uses it to sprinkle the holy waters to help sentient beings to  attain enlightenment. The piece is in excellent condition with expected signs of wear and usage.


Terese Tse Bartholomew, Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art,  San Francisco, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2006.

Andrea & Lynde McCormick, Chinese Country Antiques, Vernacular Furniture and Accessories, c. 1780-1920, Schiffer Publications, Atglen, PA, 2000.

Margie L. Yates, Antique Chinese Accessories, Vernacular Items, c. 1850-1930, Schiffer Publications, Atglen, PA, 2000.

Patricia Bjaaland Welch, Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Iconography, North Clarendon, Vermont, Tuttle Publishing, 2008.

Additional information


Antique, Qing Dynasty


19th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 15.25” W:11.125” D: 4.875”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 38.73cm W: 28.26cm D: 12.38cm




Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Item Number


Shipping Box Size