Here is a wonderful miniature Norwegian kiste, or dome-top blanket chest, with a till. The piece has been nicely decorated on all four sides and top with rosemaling (rose painting) designs. It measures 8 1/2 inches long, about 4 ½ inches deep and 4 ¼ inches tall. It is painted in the traditional manner of Os decorated items. There is a black ground on all sides and top along with gold painted edging and decorative elements. The style of the painting is similar to that on a number of Norwegian bentwood boxes that we have seen over the years which were signed and dated from Os and 1895. We would describe it as “classic Os” with some floral elements and large bold “swooshes”. The inside is painted with a white ground. The underside of the lid and the till lid are both decorated similar to the design on the outside. In addition, there is a nice and somewhat rare cross-hatch pattern that carries across the inside of the lid. A lock is present but there is no key. There is also a wire handle on the top.
The overall condition of the piece is quite good. It is structurally solid. There are very minor separations at three of the corners that usually occur on boxes like this when the wood dries and ages. There are also some minor separations and cracks in the lid that are also common due to aging and drying of the wood. The top is still tightly attached. The hinges appear to be original but have been relocated slightly from their original positions probably due to stripped out screw holes. The hinges are now holding strong. There were most likely feet on the bottom at the four corners. This was standard for this type of box and they are frequently split or broken. If there were feet on this box, then they were removed. This does not have a significant impact on the look of the box as it sits nicely on a table. The painted surfaces are in good condition. The colors are still good and the designs are obvious. The varnish that was used to protect the painted surface has darkened, picked up some dirt, and developed a patina. The top is slightly more muted as a result of dust and smoke settling on the surface over the years. The back has some crackling of the surface paint as a result of the box sitting in front of a window where the back was exposed to strong sunlight. The rosemaling is beautiful and a real plus for the piece. This box is a good example of Norwegian folkart. These boxes are becoming more and more difficult to find in good condition. This one has a very appealing look and the black ground makes an elegant statement. You will not be disappointed. We urge you to go to the internet for the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum and you will see similar miniature chests in their collection. This is a high quality box.
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