Spoils of Time Asian Ceramics and Works of Art Spoils of Time

Korean Burgundy Lacquered and Brass Bound Safe Chest


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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Korean: Pre 1900: Item # 1135839
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Frederick, MD 21701


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Antique Korean chest with a burgundy colored lacquer and bound with pierced brass decorative fittings. The color is a bit darker and with a more caramel tone than our studio lighting permitted - the underlying wood grain pleasantly texturing the lacquer surface in places. Of similar size, proportion and configuration to Korean cosmetic chests, there are some distinguishing differences. The present chest is a bit taller on average, the top is hinged but not double hinged (so more likely intended to hold documents or valuables and not serving as a support for a mirror), and two graduated drawers are hidden behind two hinged doors with a sliding lock mechanism and ring for a decorative chest lock (whereas the drawers in cosmetic chests are freely accessible.) In surprisingly good condition with only minor wear from use - exposing in places a rich patina to both the lacquer surface and oxidized wood. Decorative brass including swastika, bats, the top with turtle form lock, the doors with flower-head boss lock, engraved details throughout the brass hardware. 19th century. A similar red lacquered (cosmetic) chest with comparable (though more tame) brass hardware from the 18th century is illustrated as plate 28 in Korean Arts Of The 18th Century, Hongnam Kim, editor. Depth 12 1/2 inches (31.75 cm), Height 10 1/2 inches (26.67 cm), Width 8 1/4 inches (20.95 cm)