Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art
A Korean Choson (Joseon) Lacquer – Chest - PAGE 2

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Korean: Pre 1837 VR: item # 1005367

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A Korean Choson (Joseon) Lacquer – Chest -  PAGE 2
This is a continution of the listing above so that more photos can be seen of the chest.

Lacquer has a long history on the Korean peninsula; though surviving examples of lacquer with mother-of-pearl decoration date from the Goryeo dynasty and later. Objects from the early Joseon period expand on the earlier tradition of mother-of-pearl inlaid designs. A compositional innovation, visible in the box shown here, is the use of slightly larger pieces of mother-of-pearl, sometimes combined with more areas of negative space. The elegantly stylized design—which would have stored writing accouterments and held pride of place in a scholar's study—is accented with ornate acanthus leaves, and design are very delicately and intricately made.

Lacquerware has been produced in the Korean peninsula since the Three Kingdoms period (about AD 300-668). The production of lacquerware with inlaid mother-of-pearl decoration reached a high point during the Koryo period (AD 918-1392). Buddhism was the royal religion of the Koryo dynasty, and most of the surviving lacquerware are boxes used to store sutras, copied with great skill and care by Buddhist monks. The court and aristocracy promoted such activities as they were considered virtuous and would ensure happiness and prosperity. The use of incised iridescent haliotis shells for the inlay and the design of peony scrolls around the borders are similar to Chinese inlaid lacquer of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). The stylized chrysanthemums are typical Koryo-period in style, and recall the sanggam inlay technique of Koryo celadon ware.

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