Featured Antique Sarcophagus Tea Chest - Age/Repair

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by KikoBlueEyes, Aug 30, 2023.

  1. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

    I've been watching for this Tea Chest to come out of the back room of the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, where they sort and price items. I wanted it as soon as I saw it even though it is in rough shape. I have envied you all who have posted such items in the past. I need your help in assessing it though.

    I did some research, so I found the name of the shape of the chest, sarcophagus. It is 12.5 inches long X 7 inches wide and 6 inches tall. I saw some with the same mother of pearl inlay. What I couldn't find is one with the Chinese cloisonné canister inside. The canister seems to be original. It has a painted blue bottom which usually points to Chinese. This leads me to believe that this might be a Chinese replica of English Tea Chests in this shape. Chinese being a tea drinking people, though, this may have been originally their design that was appropriated by Westerners.

    It is pretty beaten up. Lots of neglect has led the wood surface to be damaged, wood beading missing, and the mother of pearl around the lock to be broken out. If it is indeed an antique, I have a couple of choices. In any case, I'll work with the wood to stop the damage, but the question is should I have the wood beading replaced and where could I get it if I decided to go there. While I could cut and glue on beading, repair of the mother of pearl around the lock is beyond my skill set. It is a minor point.

    Any advice appreciated.

    IMG_2752.JPG IMG_2745.JPG IMG_2746.JPG IMG_2747.JPG IMG_2753 (1).JPG IMG_2754.JPG IMG_2755 (1).JPG IMG_2758.JPG
  2. johnnycb09

    johnnycb09 Well-Known Member

    How lovely ! Personally,I dont think the cloisonne is original .Also missing its feet and I suspect trim around the bottom. Its really not in terrible shape,easily fixable. I think its British,maybe 1850s. Just a guess though.
  3. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

    Very interesting. Thank you. I saw the British ones with a glass insert instead. Actually, I saw one very similar but turned away because of the cloisonne. Perhaps, this is the wrong assumption. Thank you very much.
  4. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    That is beautiful kiko:) I always think when something has that much age to it, a little damage is to be expected and yours looks in pretty good shape. I agree with johnny on British, age and the Chinese tin is not original. The tin is interesting though and might be worth investigating:) Does it have a design on the body too?
  5. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the insights. I want to display it and would like it to be closer to the original appearance, if possible.

    I must have missed the photo with the cloisonne design. Ooops.


    It actually looks like this one now that you mention it, though it is also damaged.

    Chinese Recipient for Tobacco Made of Enamel Representing a - Etsy
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2023
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  6. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    Kiko-Gorgeous piece.Depending on how much you want to spend-I def think the wood beading could be replicated w/ wood laser.The missing mother of pearl also-just depends on cost.Suitable small antique feet could possibly found on Ebay.
    judy and KikoBlueEyes like this.
  7. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I will look for somebody who has a wood laser. I didn't know about the feet until @johnnycb09 mentioned them but its clear there were feet. Ebay you say?
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  8. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    Yes Ebay.I've found certain original replacement parts there-1940's neon clock parts,rubber tires for a 1929 toy race car.
    Usually what I'll do is enter a set of pertinent 'Key Words' (ie: 'Neon','Sweep Hand','Original','Dayglo') on my search page.Whenever something new is listed,I'll get an email alert.It can take some time tinkering/finding the best keywords.
    You need footings for your casket - think how many small antique brass feet were made for metronomes (& other objects) in the last 200 years.
  9. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

    Those are some great ideas. Thanks very much.
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  10. johnnycb09

    johnnycb09 Well-Known Member

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  11. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

    Caddy is absolutely British and lovely. Typical mahogany and mother of Pearl, 1830s ish and yes, sarcophagus.

    Chinese tin is totally unrelated. It would have absolutely had a glass bowl to mix your green and black tea. You can find those here quite often. Nice to have the zinc lining.

    these aren’t the price they once were, but that’s a really nice example.
  12. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

    Oh, and I think it had wooden feet, sort of the bottom section of a square pyramid shape. If that makes sense. Not brass because it doesn’t have brass embellishments. And not bun feet either.
  13. Houseful

    Houseful Well-Known Member

    I’m not sure it’s mahogany Bear, looks more like coromandel or rosewood?
  14. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    It is gorgeous, Kiko, and I'm with obb on the period.
    The wood looks like rosewood to me.
    Ditto, although I've seen bun feet on similar ones. The bun feet could have been replacements. No brass feet, that is a different style.
    Later ones were a style mishmash extravaganza, what I call the era of bad taste.:playful: Brass lion feet are fine on those later ones, but with this one you have to be very consistent in the style.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2023
  15. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member


    yes, looking again, I agree rosewood which is also commonly used. Not stripy enough for coromandel. Mind you, if it were coromandel that’s a whole different value, eh!
  16. Ce BCA

    Ce BCA Well-Known Member

    Just confirm what others have said. English c1830-40, rosewood. The Chinese caddy tin is about 100 years later, it would have had a cut glass mixing bowl originally. Feet from this style are usually compressed wooden buns, often disc shaped glued in with pegs. It would have handles which were likely wooden ring types held in by turned pegs.

    If you want to make mouldings to match you can take a silicon mould of the existing ones and form some new from 'plastic wood' or similar either painting it to colour match later or mixing in pigments at time of moulding. You may also be able to find suitable mouldings/handles on scrap boxes at auction for reasonable price too.
  17. silverbell

    silverbell Well-Known Member

    This entire thread is fascinating! So out of my wheelhouse, but so interesting!
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  18. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    There's a wealth of restoration tips online.I'm restoring our late 40's early 50's steel casement windows.Lots of people are keeping the industrial crank-out & jaluosie windows these days,they don't rot & are more true to the original architecture.
    Our floor orig registers have a Bauhaus vibe-i sprayed then w/ a gun metal steel hammered finish.I'm sure if the ghost of the original owner's lurking he's got to be wondering-'What the hell happened to all My 'Early American' furniture !?'.
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  19. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

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  20. KikoBlueEyes

    KikoBlueEyes Well-Known Member

    Excellent. I like that time frame even better. I thought it looked like one on the internet that was British, but the Chinese can threw me off. I will have to find a matching bowl now. The problem will be that something common for you, 5,380 miles away they are pretty rare.
    I was so happy to find this that the price doesn't matter. I love old and interesting things for their own sake. Actually, I had a $200 buyer loyalty discount, so it paid for this box and one other that I am going to sell to finance the restoration of this piece. The other box that I will post soon is from the same donation, but I am not sure that it is what they said it is. Thank you for your insights.
    Figtree3, Any Jewelry and johnnycb09 like this.
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