A  pair of large imperial lacquered and gilt cabinets, sijianggui. . Ming Dynasty, 17th century. Photo Christies Ltd 2011

Each of massive rectangular form and comprising two sections supported on short square feet, the hat chest top section with two square floating panel doors fitted flush and with a removable centre stile, below the large cabinet similarly fitted with rectangular doors, gilt to the front with fierce Buddhist lions carefully detailed with scaly spines and bushy tails, some in full stride, others in pairs, grasping and playing with embroidered balls, all on a ground of lotus blooms borne on leafy tendrils. Overall 93 in. (236.3 cm.) high, 75 in. (190 cm.) wide, 22 in. (55.9 cm.) deep (2). Estimate £300,000 - £500,000 ($501,300 - $835,500)

Provenance: Purchased from Yamanaka & Co., Beijing, 1918.
By repute, from Yamanaka's personal collection.

Notes: Known as sijiangui, 'four-part wardrobes' or dingxiang ligui, 'top cupboards and upright wardrobes', these storage cabinets were generally made in pairs and served as wardrobes. The upper sections were reserved for headwear and the bottom for folded clothes.

Compare a cabinet with almost identical gilt decoration and with a Wanli reign mark, but missing the top section, illustrated by Michael Beurdeley, Chinese Furniture, Tokyo, 1983, p. 124. fig. 166. Compare also a pair of cabinets of similar form sold at Christie's New York, Important Chinese Furniture, Formerly the Museum of Classical Chinese Furniture Collection, 19 September, 1996, lot 30; and another pair of huanghuali cabinets without gilt decoration also sold in our New York Rooms, 20 September 2002, lot 60.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art , 10 May 2011. London, King Street www.christies.com