The dowry chest was used by early americans  and their european ancestors to collect, over time, linens, clothes, and other household items a young  woman might need for her new life as a bride. Often these chests would be constructed at home and sometimes decorated by the family as their talents allowed.  It was not uncommon for the family to wait until an itinerant artist would pass through the area to have their chest decorated and some of these artists gained great reputations for their talents. The themes expressed  often had religious  overtones. The three petals of the tulip represented the trinity, the unicorn stood for purity; and the tree of life  was a frequent metaphor for the Garden of Eden.  The New England stlye decorations were often floral motifs and much less rigid in design than the Fractur style of the Pennsylvannia Dutch. Architectural elements often incased these motifs in panels and columns.  The fact that many of these chests have survived the years indicates the great importance given them by their owners.  It is our good fortune that the dowry chest was held in such high esteem so that we might still enjoy their timeless beauty.  I know  my wife and I are greatly inspired by their beauty and simple elegance, and  the hope that their contents symbolized.

Miniature DowryChest

18"L  10"H  8"D