This Seventeenth Century Japanese lacquer box was a masterpiece in its time and, in our time, stout enough to support a heavy television set. What is now known as the Mazarin Chest passed through various hands over hundreds of years, eventually serving mostly practical purposes:
In 1970, Dr. Zaniewski sold the chest for £100 to a tenant of his, a French engineer who worked for Shell Petroleum. The engineer used it as a TV stand in his South Kensington apartment for 16 years, then brought it with him when he retired to the Loire Valley in 1986. There he used it as a bar.
In 2013, the engineer’s family had the chest appraised. It sold at auction for 7.3 million euros.