Painted Festival Trunk

c. 1820
$1,580 USD
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W: 34.0" D: 21.75" H: 22.0"
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Trunks and storage chests were the most ubiquitous form of household storage throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. Used to store clothes, linens, kitchen utensils, and other miscellaneous items, trunks were found in every room in the home and were often stacked on top of one another.

This festive trunk dates to the early 19th century and has been embellished with black lacquer and detailed hand-painted decoration in a traditional folk style. The front of the trunk is painted with a scene of Communist propaganda, depicting three young men holding texts written by Chairman Mao. Above the figures is a bust of Chairman Mao shown as a beacon of light and painted text encouraging the study and use of Mao’s writings. Likely repainted in the 1960s or 70s, the provincial chest is a curious example of mid-century attempts to integrate Communist philosophies into more traditional ways of being.

The central design is surrounded by lush peonies and a teal border of pink orchids and Shou longevity symbols. This border is further enclosed by a frame of various flowers, offering fruits and eternal knots. Inside, the trunk has been painted a bright turquoise to match the green palette of the trunk's painted decoration.

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