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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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TWO CHINESE CANTON GILT BLACK LACQUER MINIATURE CABINETS AND A BOX, 19TH C.
Apr 19, 9:30 AM CEST
TWO CHINESE CANTON GILT BLACK LACQUER MINIATURE CABINETS AND A BOX, 19TH C.
by Rob Michiels Auctions
Est: €800- €1,200
€7002 Bids
Antique Tibetan Cabinet, 19th C. H: 46"
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Tibetan Cabinet, 19th C. H: 46"
by Material Culture
Est: $400- $600
$1001 Bid
Antique Chinese Black Lacquered Two Door Cabinet, 19th C., H: 4'10"
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chinese Black Lacquered Two Door Cabinet, 19th C., H: 4'10"
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
PETIT CABINET RECTANGULAIRE
Apr 17, 2:00 PM CEST
PETIT CABINET RECTANGULAIRE
by Tajan
Est: €300- €500
€2401 Bid
Antique Chinese Red and Black Lacquered Cabinet, 19th C., H: 6'2"
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chinese Red and Black Lacquered Cabinet, 19th C., H: 6'2"
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
Antique Chinese Black Lacquered Tall Cabinet, 19th C. H: 5'7"
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chinese Black Lacquered Tall Cabinet, 19th C. H: 5'7"
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
Antique Chinese Altar Cabinet
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chinese Altar Cabinet
by Material Culture
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
SMALL CABINET, CHINA, 20TH C
Apr 15, 10:00 AM CEST
SMALL CABINET, CHINA, 20TH C
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€1001 Bid
Antique Diminutive Chinese Altar Cabinet
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Diminutive Chinese Altar Cabinet
by Material Culture
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
Antique Chinese Diminutive Altar Cabinet
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chinese Diminutive Altar Cabinet
by Material Culture
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
5-piece Chinese cabinet set, H 13 - 17 cm.
Apr 20, 9:00 AM CEST
5-piece Chinese cabinet set, H 13 - 17 cm.
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €60- €180
€600 Bids
Antique Chinese Tall Cabinet, Late 19th C., H: 5'10"
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chinese Tall Cabinet, Late 19th C., H: 5'10"
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Chinese cabinet
Apr 19, 10:00 AM CEST
Chinese cabinet
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €90- €270
€900 Bids
5-Piece Chin. cupboard set
Apr 20, 9:00 AM CEST
5-Piece Chin. cupboard set
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €1,200- €3,600
€1,2000 Bids
5-piece Chinese cabinet set, H 31 - 34 cm.
Apr 20, 9:00 AM CEST
5-piece Chinese cabinet set, H 31 - 34 cm.
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €600- €1,800
€6000 Bids
A PAIR OF WOODEN MOTHER-OF-PEARL FLOWER AND BIRD CABINETS FROM THE QING DYNASTY
Apr 20, 3:00 PM PDT
A PAIR OF WOODEN MOTHER-OF-PEARL FLOWER AND BIRD CABINETS FROM THE QING DYNASTY
by Mega International Auction
Est: $5,000- $6,000
$4,0000 Bids
Antique Chinese Tall Cabinet With Open Shelves, 19th C., H: 6'7"
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chinese Tall Cabinet With Open Shelves, 19th C., H: 6'7"
by Material Culture
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Tall Antique Chinese Carved and Lacquered Kitchen Cabinet, 19th C., H:6'2"
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Tall Antique Chinese Carved and Lacquered Kitchen Cabinet, 19th C., H:6'2"
by Material Culture
Est: $600- $900
$3000 Bids
Antique Chinese Red Lacquer Two Door Cabinet, 19th C., H:5'6"
Apr 16, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chinese Red Lacquer Two Door Cabinet, 19th C., H:5'6"
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
A RICHLY CARVED CHINESE HONGMU WOODEN ETAGERE CUPBOARD, CANTON, 19TH C.
Apr 18, 9:30 AM CEST
A RICHLY CARVED CHINESE HONGMU WOODEN ETAGERE CUPBOARD, CANTON, 19TH C.
by Rob Michiels Auctions
Est: €4,000- €8,000
€3,2000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Cabinets


Material Culture

Material Culture

Nye & Company

Nye & Company

Twents Veilinghuis

Twents Veilinghuis

Brunk Auctions

Brunk Auctions