An ornate and unusual Anglo Chinese padouk campaign chest of drawers featuring the Eight Immortals, dated 1869 of rectangular form, in two sections, each with recessed carrying handles, the top section with two short and one long drawer carved in relief with landscapes of bridges, houses and pagodas, the lower section with two long drawers, one showing the Immortals in the mountains and one with them in a long boat with an elephant-head prow, all raised upon knopped legs. Chinese, 1869.


Footnote: The Eight Immortals are a group of legendary Xian ("immortals") in Chinese mythology. Each immortal's power can be transferred to a vessel that can bestow life or destroy evil.


Tie guaili with gourd, can make medicine and cure the sick.

Zhong hanli with fan, can resurrect the.

Zhang guolao with tabour, can foresee the future.

Lv Dongbin with sword, can fight with evil.

He xiangu with lotus, can help people become immortal.

Lan caihe with basket, can singing to make people happy.

Han xiangzi with clarinet, can play music.

Cao guojiu with Jade plate can decide on the balance of the genders in the world.


The legend depicted on this chest shows the task they performed to collect some special medicine from higher ranked Immortals across the ocean. On the way they encounter terrible storms and disturb the Dragon King who sends his armies in the form of lobsters, crab and fish to deter the Immortals. In the ensuing war two of the Dragon princes are killed and finally Avalokitesvara (Guan-yin) has to intervene to restore peace.

Rare 19th Century Carved Wood Padouk Chinese Campaign Chest

  • Height: 110.0cm
    Width: 99.0cm
    Depth: 47.0cm

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The Studio, Donhead St Mary, Berrywood Lane, Wiltshire


© 2020 by Ken Bolan 

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