asian-inspired accent chests
04 Monday Jun 2012
Asian-inspired furniture has long been a design favorite here in the west. But did you know that during the Ming Dynasty in China the concept of the western armoire didn’t exist because the Chinese didn’t hang clothes vertically at that time (seems they didn’t like wire hangers either)? The introduction of other western furniture pieces such as chairs and high tables prompted the use of more vertical furniture. Until then, clothing and bed linens were stored in horizontal stacks. Once Chinese furniture makers saw the western armoire, they began crafting cabinets in varying heights and styles that would still accommodate their preferences for horizontal storage.
Shown above is the Havertys Ming Accent Chest. Its design is reminiscent of a traditional Chinese wedding cabinet. A wedding cabinet was painted red for good luck and prosperity, and it was included as part of the bride’s dowry. Wedding chests were decorated with round, brass plates at the center to draw the eye toward the most beautiful part of the cabinet. It probably still works as a good wedding gift to a groom if it’s the kind that can hold a TV (we know what you’re thinking; and no, it wouldn’t be too much).
Shown above is the Havertys Tao Console Chest. This type of chest would normally have been used in the center of a Chinese living room to store everyday items. However, the drawers are a westernized addition. In earlier times, the Chinese didn’t commonly use a chest of drawers because they were not easy to lock. Boxes, trunks and cabinets were preferred for their ability to secure valuables with a lock and key.
Do you have any Asian-inspired furniture pieces or antiques that you’ve repurposed? How do you use them?