Chests, or Coffers or Kists as the antique ones were often known as saw very versatile uses depending on the place of origin and the designs. While some were traditionally used to store valuables apart from weapons and fine cloths in the earlier times, the Italian Cassonnes, as they were known in Italy, were mostly used for carrying the dowry goods during the marriage ceremony.
The simple chests were also made use of as wagon seats and the designs were altered accordingly to make them comfortable for this use. These wagon chests doubled as storage chests too. The medieval and early renaissance period in Europe saw the use of the shorter chests as benches while the taller ones did the work of side tables. The ones with sliding lids were often used as writing desks too with the storage space used to keep stationary. In some of the countries like Ukraine, these chests were a family relic in the peasant’s families as also a symbol of wealth and every girl of age 15 was given her personal chest to later carry her dowry items as also store her personal belongings. The Arab countries made use of these chests to carry the ship captain’s possessions as well as for brides.
The use and significance of these chests differed from place to place and the designs of these chests largely depended on the culture and traditions of a region. What were once very functional in a number of different traditional ways in and out of the homes; in today’s world have more of versatile in-home decorative uses apart from being very functional. Antique chests are pretty and they are practical with a good amount of storage space that they provide and also add character and sense of history to the place where they are put up. While in the bedrooms they sit pretty at the foot of the bed or as dressers or side tables, in the living room these look great as the centre tables or as beautiful and welcoming entry way low tables. The modern homes, especially the smaller ones see the storage capabilities of these chests as a boon in ways. Having the advantage of looks coupled with functionality is amazing and these stunning pieces of furniture can store anything from clothes, linen and other household items to kid’s toys, stationary and a lot more. Be it infusing an otherwise drab decor with some period charm or adding some elegant decorative variety and a focal point in a room, antique chests are the very first furniture items you should ideally set your eyes on if either is your motive.
On our latest treasure hunting expedition, we found some beautiful chests from the 18th century. Head to our ‘new stock’ section to have a look at these charming pieces of furniture. One fine example is a Carved Oak Coffer that is from
18th century carved oak coffer with a three panel front and frieze decorated with stylised flowers and scrolls.
18th C carved oak coffer with a three panel front and frieze decorated with stylised flowers and scrolls. 1730- See more at: http://www.arcadiaantiques.co.uk/antique-chests-and-coffers/carved-oak-coffer-10-0-refno-4375.html#sthash.opTkS6tG.dpuf