antique wedding trunk with dragon and phoenix motifs; late Ch'ing dynasty; collected in China 2004 by Susan Gilmore and David Anderson
painted on two sides - one with a dragon and phoenix motif, the other with a floral motif; each side features a symbol of union
all original hardware; woodwork has minimal restoration
would make a stunning entry piece
note the four drawers; the number four is indicative of balance; it may also be symbolic of the Four Happinesses:
Sweet rain after a long drought.
Meeting an old friend in a foreign land.
The wedding night in the nuptial chamber.
The sign of one's name on the golden placard.
The number four in the Book of Changes (I Ching) symbolizes the feminine; four drawers plus a top equals five, which in the Book of Changes is masculine; the total of four plus five is nine, which was considered the perfect number in Chinese thought.
Xi means happiness; written as a pair one has shuangxi, or double happiness. The double happiness symbol is always associated with marriage and union.