Known in France as a maie (pronounced “may”), this storage bin was hand-carved in Provence in the 1700s. A maie was often used in countryside French houses to store fresh-baked bread. This particular model is constructed of rather unique size and form, which today, permit it be used as a practical console table with storage (top opens).
To facilitate bread storage, a maie would have been constructed with a liftable flat lid. In the case of our maie, the lid is surrounded by a thin quarter-round molding that has been embellished with a repeating pattern of demilune-shaped parted leaves. Foliate motifs are seen on each of the four, long and slender cabriole legs, with the leaves separated by fluting. Both sides have sinuous aprons composed of two volutes, which are tendrils of a pair of large life-like leaves. The front apron is less pronounced, with a subtle arbalete shape. In the center of the front façade is a footed vase adorned with lozenge patternwork. A bouquet is overflowing from the vase’s mouth, with two leafy margents emanating from the flowers. The leaves curl back towards the vase, making use of all available space on the facing.
Our well-carved maie from the 18th century has a deep, rich patina that has been accentuated by French wax and centuries of use. In today’s households, it can be used as a storage trunk in any bedroom. It can also be used as a unique console table, as the back side is not carved.
CONDITION: Strong antique condition with minor nicks and rubs. Light losses to interior, with some age separations to the main body. The trunk has a fabulous dark brown patina, enhanced by French wax.