COFFER (Fr. coffre, O. Fr. cofre or cofne, Lat. cophinus, cf. "coffin"), in architecture, a sunk panel in a ceiling or vault; also a casket or chest in which jewels or precious goods were kept, and, if of large dimensions, clothes. The marriage coffers in Italy were of exceptional richness in their carving and gilding and were sometimes painted by great artists.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)