Height: 43¼ inches (110cm) Width: 38½ inches (98cm) Depth: 19 inches (48cm)
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An Anglo-Chinese padouk campaign chest of drawers, 1868. This unusual padouk chest is made in two parts with inset campaign handles for easy transportation. It has a rectangular top above two short and three long drawers all raised on turned feet. The drawer fronts are elaborately carved with figures in a landscape with pagodas, bridges and a dragon ship, all relating to an old Chinese legend about the Eight Immortals crossing the sea. Anglo Chinese, circa 1868.
The legend of the Eight Immortals has been popular since the Ming period. There are many versions, but the basics remain the same. The Eight Immortals had to travel to another land and encountered an ocean, the realm of the Dragon King, which blocked their way. They each decided to use their special skills or attributes to succeed in this endeavour. In some versions they began to vie for power and start fighting amongst themselves. In other stories they combined their resources for the good of the world and achieved their goal.
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