Hand carved coconut cutters like this were commonly used in India and Thailand to facilitate the difficult task of extracting all parts of the coconut that were routinely used in these cultures. Carvers took pleasure in creating unique and functional folk art tools with local artistic motifs. Long since discontinued, this carving with its warm and rustic feel would be a unique decorative addition to any style kitchen and an interesting conversational piece.
Small furniture pieces were made for many purposes, including as gifts for newly married couples to store small precious items. 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, the top second register is a peony, and the top is a couple under a willow tree.
As a wish for a prosperous and healthy family with many sons, this small table probably was in a young couple’s bedroom to hold small personal statues and store precious items. On the right panel Guanyin sits a hǒu holding a lotus in each hand and the left panel has two rats with melons. The 3 drawers and 2 doors have metal teardrop pulls on radiating scalloped discs. The doors and delicately scrolled apron are adorned with finely carved, painted, heavily gilded, and lacquer-covered reliefs surrounded by rounded borders with more auspicious symbols. The piece has a red and brown hue with bright red insets and is in excellent condition.
Wall pockets remain a very common decorative element in Asian homes. In China, they are used to hold chopsticks and flowers to bring good fortune to a space where the family gathers. This charming, finely made and unique vintage Shiwan pocket is a frog seated on a lotus. The lotus and frog share similar and symbiotic traits. Both are aquatic organisms, as frogs find shelter under the lotus leaves while the frog helps nourish the plant’s root and both symbolize transformation. In Buddhist beliefs, both move between watery environments representing the subconscious and land which symbolizes the conscious or material world. With a hole in the back for hanging on a wall, this wall pocket is great addition to enhance a kitchen’s coziness and feng shui and is a wonderful wedding gift.
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