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Chinese Cabinets

Without closets, the Chinese developed many different kinds of cabinets in order to store away clothing, tableware, pottery, and other decorative objects that were not currently being used. The cabinets were usually made of wood, and often decorated with brass details, various kinds of inlays for decoration. Cabinets were also often traditionally lacquered in red or black, and created in many different sizes to accommodate for any type of object.

There are two main large Chinese cabinets: square-cornered, or round-cornered. With many flat surfaces, the square-cornered cabinets lend themselves to more elaborate decorations. The overhangs of these types of cabinets are very boxy as opposed to the tapered edges of the round-cornered cabinets. While the square-cornered cabinet doors need to be mounted on hinges, round-cornered cabinet doors fit right into the frame of the cabinet.

Cabinets of smaller sizes, various kinds of shelving, and different storage spaces also exist for concealing smaller household items such as medicine, food, plates, bowls, teapots, and other everyday things.


Quick Facts

  • Most Chinese cabinets are easily disassembled for easy moving
  • Cabinets often contained secret compartments for hiding valuables
  • Drawers were not commonly used, mostly because they were not as easy to lock and secure

Recommended Items at Auction

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A Vintage Chinese Apothecary Cabinet. The top with upswept ends above a bank of multiple drawers; ea
Oct 09, 11:00 AM BST
A Vintage Chinese Apothecary Cabinet. The top with upswept ends above a bank of multiple drawers; ea
by Wilkinson's Auctioneers
Est: £100- £200
£801 Bid
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Chinese Cloisonne File Cabinet
Oct 18, 10:00 AM EDT
Chinese Cloisonne File Cabinet
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $30- $60
$101 Bid
Chinese lacquer cabinet
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
Chinese lacquer cabinet
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids
Chinese or Japanese lacquer display cabinet
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
Chinese or Japanese lacquer display cabinet
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€4500 Bids
OAK CORNER CURVED CHINA
Oct 25, 9:00 AM CDT
OAK CORNER CURVED CHINA
by Jackson's International
Est: $100- $200
$1000 Bids
Hochzeitsschrank / A wedding cabinet, China, um 1870
Oct 08, 9:00 AM CEST
Hochzeitsschrank / A wedding cabinet, China, um 1870
by Auktionshaus Schwab
Est: €200- €400
€2000 Bids
A Vintage Four-Tier Chinese Cabinet having open rectangular shelves on square uprights with sheet me
Oct 09, 11:00 AM BST
A Vintage Four-Tier Chinese Cabinet having open rectangular shelves on square uprights with sheet me
by Wilkinson's Auctioneers
Est: £100- £200
£800 Bids
Chinese Liansanchu altar cabinet
Oct 12, 10:00 AM EDT
Chinese Liansanchu altar cabinet
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $150- $250
$700 Bids
Chinoiserie Red Lacquer Cabinet
Oct 08, 10:00 AM EDT
Chinoiserie Red Lacquer Cabinet
by Roland Auctions NY
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
Chinese Red Lacquer Wardrobe Cabinet with Chinoiserie
Oct 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Chinese Red Lacquer Wardrobe Cabinet with Chinoiserie
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$1000 Bids
A CHINESE ARCHITECTURAL DISPLAY CABINET
Oct 25, 9:00 AM CDT
A CHINESE ARCHITECTURAL DISPLAY CABINET
by Jackson's International
Est: $100- $150
$1000 Bids
A Chinese Four Door, Two Drawer Glazed Display Cabinet with Iron Locks
Oct 16, 11:00 AM AEDT
A Chinese Four Door, Two Drawer Glazed Display Cabinet with Iron Locks
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD200- AUD400
AUD1000 Bids
Baker Chinese style cabinet on stand
Oct 12, 10:00 AM EDT
Baker Chinese style cabinet on stand
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
CHINESE STONE-MOUNTED LACQUER CABINET ON STAND
Oct 15, 10:00 AM CDT
CHINESE STONE-MOUNTED LACQUER CABINET ON STAND
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $500- $700
$3000 Bids
A Stained Timber Four Drawer Entertainment Unit in the Chinses Style
Oct 16, 11:00 AM AEDT
A Stained Timber Four Drawer Entertainment Unit in the Chinses Style
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD40- AUD80
AUD200 Bids
A large pair of Chinese carved hardwood cabinets with two galleried shelves 195 x 85 x 38 cm (2).
Oct 14, 9:30 AM BST
A large pair of Chinese carved hardwood cabinets with two galleried shelves 195 x 85 x 38 cm (2).
by Hannam's Auctioneers
Est: £500- £800
£4800 Bids
Chinese carved hardwood wall cabinet
Oct 12, 10:00 AM EDT
Chinese carved hardwood wall cabinet
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $100- $150
$500 Bids
A Chinese carved hardwood cabinet, late Qing, H 177 - W 93 - D 38 cm
Oct 05, 10:00 AM CEST
A Chinese carved hardwood cabinet, late Qing, H 177 - W 93 - D 38 cm
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €1,000- €1,500
€5000 Bids
A Chinese marriage cabinet, late 19th/ea
Oct 07, 10:00 AM BST
A Chinese marriage cabinet, late 19th/ea
by Kinghams Auctioneers
Est: £200- £300
£1200 Bids
A chinoiserie table cabinet. 46 cm high.
Oct 08, 10:00 AM BST
A chinoiserie table cabinet. 46 cm high.
by Rowley Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers
Est: £40- £60
£400 Bids
A fine Chinese rosewood two-doors cabinet, late Qing, H 159,5 x W 106 cm - D 45,5 cm
Oct 05, 10:00 AM CEST
A fine Chinese rosewood two-doors cabinet, late Qing, H 159,5 x W 106 cm - D 45,5 cm
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €3,000- €5,000
€1,5000 Bids
chinese locker
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
chinese locker
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€2000 Bids
CHINESE PANELED WOOD CABINET WITH BIFOLD DOORS
Oct 15, 10:00 AM CDT
CHINESE PANELED WOOD CABINET WITH BIFOLD DOORS
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Cabinets


Carlo Bonte Auctions

Carlo Bonte Auctions

Austin Auction Gallery

Austin Auction Gallery

Millea Bros Ltd

Millea Bros Ltd

Twents Veilinghuis

Twents Veilinghuis