Antique Ladies Vanity Cabinet with Elaborate Carving (16442LMK) SPECIAL PRICE

Original price was: $695.00.Current price is: $595.00.

Ht: 20.75”  W:  19.125”  D: 11” |CALL 213-568-3030 OR EMAIL VANISHINGARTS@GMAIL.COM FOR SHIPPING COST

This very fine ladies vanity cabinet is covered with red lacquer, the color of blessings (fu), highlighted with gold and deeply carved and painted decorations of auspicious symbols to bring happiness, good fortune, long life and many sons to the elite couple who may have received it as a wedding gift by parents in hopes of them successfully carrying on the family tradition.  This is a reflection of the Confucian belief having sons to carry on the family name is essential to real happiness.


This elaborate late 19th century elmwood vanity cabinet displays many characteristics of vernacular furniture made to cater to the newly prosperous Chinese merchant class whose colorful tastes countered those of conservative scholars and the literati imperial class. Covered with red lacquer, the color of blessings (fu), it has deeply carved and painted decorations highlighted with gold with many auspicious symbols to bring happiness, good fortune, long life and many sons to the elite couple who may have received this wonderful antique-Chinese wood-carving as wedding gifts by parents in hopes of them carrying on the family tradition. Many longevity symbols are a wish for the couple to grow old together with sons in harmony, wealth, high social and political rank and honor. Five is a sacred number, a collection of five of similar images symbolizes the Five Blessings of longevity, health, wealth, love of virtue and a peaceful death. The center panel has raised reliefs of  5-petal plum blossoms meaning “May the blossoms bring you the Five Blessings or Happinesses” and are  emblems of fortitude in old age as. The four lions atop the front panels are protective and propitious figures, as lions (shi) are strong and powerful, protect building entrances, homes and their inhabitants and symbolize harmony, blessings and high rank. The female in the upper left scalloped oblong wing stands among stylized pines, symbols of longevity (shou). The female on the right holds a fan, the symbol of the immortal Han Zongli which he uses to awaken the dead. The rolled-up pair of scrolls is one of the Seven Treasures (qibao), when shown with ribbons  highlight the magic or divine powers of the object (Welch, p. 228) and also are one of the Four Scholarly Pursuits and epitomize well-educated persons of good breeding. The painted bird on the rear is a magpie (xique), a homophone for joy and happiness (xi) and its long tail (shoudai) is a pun and wish for longevity (shou). The painted lotuses are Buddhist symbols of purity and enlightenment and are symbols of a happy marriage. Lotus seeds (zi) are a pun for fertility but, when used with lian means the continuous bearing of many sons (lianzi). The lotus has many names: hehua which is homophonous with harmony (he), lian, a pun for rising in rank (liansheng), and shui furong, a pun for wealth (fu) and honor (rong). The symbolic motifs made this an ideal wedding gift.


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

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, Atglen, Shiffer Publishing Ltd., 2000.


Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


19th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 20.75” W: 19.125” D: 11”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 52.71cm W: 52.70cm D: 27.94cm


Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Item Number


Shipping Box Size