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Magnificent Chinese Wedding Bed, 3rd Quarter 19th C
Chinese wedding traditions go back many centuries and involve much preparation and superstition. Upon a betrothal (with most partners having never met before the wedding), a lavish bed was commissioned, the quality and decoration of which depended largely on the financial means of the families. The bed would often take as long as a year to complete. These beds reached their zenith of quality in the 2nd half of the 19th C and are among the most decorative quality pieces of furniture found anywhere. It was common for the wife to spend the majority of her day in the bed and receive guests. Some examples feature separate rooms and are almost a house unto themselves. This example is made of cedar and other woods; made so that all parts are joined together with pegged joints and can be disassembled for transporting. It consists of a mattress frame with legs and supports beneath, painted side and overhead panels, and an elaborately carved and painted front frame and valence. Panels depict scenes from battle, court, and every day life; painted primarily in rich reds, gold, and black, with inlaid Mother of Pearl. A bank of drawers and locking drop-lid compartment are at the rear. Holds a 3/4 mattress (halfway between the size of a twin and full), available from most mattress stores. In original unrestored condition showing normal wear and use and patina to the panels. Fabulous one-of-a-kind piece of art which was at the very heart of the traditional Chinese family. Assembled size 93" wide by 84" high by 83" deep. Price DOES NOT include shipping or setup.
For a video discussion of a very similar bed, perhaps from the same workshop and appraised at $20,000-$25,000, go to http://www.hgtv.com/video/chinese-marriage-bed-video/index.html
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