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The fascinating history of Chinese cabinets

The primary design features of oriental furniture have changed little since the long-ago days when all-powerful emperors reigned and exotic pieces were all the rage in English country homes. Still decadent, ostentatious, and exquisitely crafted, this style of interior design is exceptionally beautiful, especially when it takes the form of the world-renowned Chinese cabinet

Chinese cabinets

An interior furnishing with a long and interesting history, the Chinese cabinet initially appeared in the first millennium AD. Designed for necessity above all, its unique features arose in large part due to the architecture of traditional Chinese homes. Made without any place to put built-in closets, which were a purely western invention (and which remain so to this day), these necessitated a new and innovative design that had never been seen before. 

Crafted to accommodate the hanging of clothes not vertically, as we store them, but flat inside a chest or cabinet, this unique furniture type was made with utility in mind; the beautiful artistry associated with it was simply an added extra. Produced by only the finest master craftsmen, they soon came to serve not only a practical purpose but a decorative one too. Important for the protection and storage of valuable dynastic robes, form and function combined to create some exceptionally beautiful designs. 

As the idea caught on, olden day craftsmen were called upon to create a greater range of cabinets than ever before, ones that could serve not only their traditional purpose but a more generalised function too. Soon used as the primary storage facilities within most households, Chinese cabinets began to dramatically change the appearance of interiors as a whole. 

They did this by giving ordinary people a place to store much of the household detritus that had been on display before their creation. From books to jewellery to writing implements, cooking utensils to food, they contained and concealed, becoming ever more beautiful in the process. 

Even today, we use Chinese cabinets in much the same way. Both ornamental and practical, many are works of art in and of themselves. Enhancing and embellishing homes, they nonetheless provide the much-needed storage that we’re always so short of, allowing us to tidy away the debris of everyday living and hide it inside something truly lovely. 

The ultimate decorative piece for any home, Chinese cabinets add a touch of culture and class, never looking out of place. As sumptuous as they are spacious, they are striking, sophisticated, and most certainly deserve a place in your interior. 

Contact our team today to find out more, or take a look at our chic and stylish collection of Chinese furniture for yourself.