top double-doored cabinet with 2 interior shelves, pin closure and 3 hanging pendant pulls rests on large cabinet; double-doored cabinet with 3 shelves, 2 drawers, pin closure and hanging pendant pulls rests on a stand with carved apron

Compound Wardrobe Cabinet, one of a pair, early 18th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

The largest form of Chinese cabinet is the monumental, square corner compound wardrobe. Always made in pairs, the form consists of a tall, lower unit surmounted by a shorter upper unit or "hat chest" constructed from the same materials. These cabinets were designed primarily for the storage of fine garments which were folded and laid flat rather than hung. There is historical evidence that compound wardrobes were placed in important public spaces within the household such as reception halls and main entrances where prestigious furniture was used to impress a status conscious society. Since the traditional Chinese house was not constructed with built-in closets, these cabinets were also used in bedroom settings. This elegant, early eighteenth century pair is unusual in that the stacking units are set on fitted stands rather than raised on corner legs like most other cabinets of this type.

Details
Title
Compound Wardrobe Cabinet, one of a pair
Role
Artist
Accession Number
99.216.1.1a-g
Curator Approved

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top double-doored cabinet with 2 interior shelves, pin closure and 3 hanging pendant pulls rests on large cabinet; double-doored cabinet with 3 shelves, 2 drawers, pin closure and hanging pendant pulls rests on a stand with carved apron