Mid 1800s, elm or cypress, Shanxi. Carved with ancient symbolic motifs; original metal door pulls. 7′ 5” h, 17″ w.
These doors were used in a home’s interior space to create privacy, as opposed to ones made by courtyards to protect against wind and rain. The top portion is divided into three sections: two narrow panels on the top and bottom with a wide one in the middle. The focal point is the wide section with openwork, featuring a scrolling dragon in the middle of the section, with a flower-head design above and below it, bordered by a network of continuous-life or wandering-clouds motifs. Below this openwork section is a narrow “taohuan” panel with the variegate “ruyi” design. All these designs signify a long life and wishes for blessings from above. With such artistic decorations, this set of panels was most likely commissioned for someone of high status in the community. The bottom half of these door panels are solid without carvings. These panels survived in good condition.