Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Walk through any large contemporary homewares store and you'll probably be confronted by the usual faux Japanese/Korean Chests. They are normally found in the company of the ubiquitus lucky cat with a raised paw or a modern Geisha doll in a glass case. I was introduced to the authentic version over 20 years ago. With their limitless variety and finishes they stood in rows in the many antique stores in High St Armadale. Their particular beauty stemmed from smaller details such as inconsistently placed handles or secret drawers.
When you consider that the chest you have sitting in your lounge has resided with numerous families over untold generations, it adds a level of gravitas to an object some would simply regard as another place to put their dvd's. Knowing that our 'ownership' of antiques is more custodial in nature, I often consider how homes and lives intertwine. It is also surprising that the prices for such beautiful pieces are not very much different from reproductions. At least the provenance of their timber is not a matter for concern. My personal favourite is the Tansu I shot at home from the Meiji Period (1868-1912). They are solid but highly portable and are a perfect backdrop for vintage and contemporary vases.