This ancient elaborately carved and painted wood panel is actually the front of a Chinese Jitney (aka litter). See the diagram below. There probably were curtains all around for privacy.
There are notches at the bottom corners to fit horizontal poles so coolies could lift to the cab. It might have been owned by a wealthy individual and/or royalty. Or it could have been a part of a taxi service to get around town or rented for a wedding, etc.
I believe foreigners could rent a jitney in the towns for their sightseeing or business needs.
WHAT IS IT?
(Editor’s note: Palisades resident Howard Yonet has an interesting collection of curios from around the world and with his permission, Circling the News is publishing one a week. About the collector: Dr. Howard Yonet was born in Brooklyn in 1934 and attended Brooklyn College. He went to Baylor Medical School and then returned to do an internship at Bellevue Hospital. Yonet completed his residency at the Manhattan V.A. and the Montefiore Hospital. During this time he went skiing in Vermont and the Catskills, and while traveling found barns filled with early American pieces. This led to his interest in American Antiques.
In 1965, he married Daniele, who was originally from Nancy, France. During the Vietnam War, Yonet was drafted as a medical officer and stationed in Landstuhl, Germany (1966-1969). This was close to the French border, which meant he and Daniele and could visit her family.
While abroad, the Yonets took weekend trips through France and Italy, purchasing many interesting pieces at flea markets.
The family settled in Pacific Palisades in 1970 and Yonet practiced general radiology until 2006. He continued to acquire antiques and collectables at estate and garage sales and the Salvation Army Store. He also enjoyed looking for collectibles while traveling in Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Massachusetts. Daniele’s family helped add to his collection.)