Tibetan Mountain Landscape Coffer

c. 1850
$3,680 USD
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W: 26.5" D: 24.75" H: 20.5"
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This low two-drawer chest is a 19th-century coffer from northern China or Mongolia and was repainted with bright colors in the early 20th century in the style of Tibetan painted furniture. The top surface has been painted with verdant mountainous landscape dotted with grazing animals, colorful flowers and dancing figures. Crashing waves churn along a river in the foreground and plumes of smoke billow from hilltop fires in the distance.

The front panels and drawers are painted with intricate scrollwork and ribbon-clad Buddhist auspicious symbols, including the parasol, the treasure vase, the conch shell, the endless knot, the pair of golden fishes, the banner of victory, and the wheel of life. These symbols of good fortune represent the offerings that were made by the gods to Shakyamuni Buddha when he attained enlightenment. The sides are painted with a lotus flower surrounding the Three Jewels, round gemstones representing the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, the means by which a Buddhist takes spiritual refuge. Brightly colored and full of life, we love this unique chest for its rich symbolism and one-of-a-kind story.

Deaccessioned from the MacLean Collection of Asian Art.

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