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Box with plum tree motif
Lacquered wood with inlaid mother-of-pearl
Place of Origin: Korea
Date: 1800-1900
Historical Period: Joseon dynasty (1392-1910)
Materials: Lacquered wood with inlaid mother-of-pearl and metal fittings
Dimensions: H. 6 1/2 in x L. 29 1/2 in x W. 16 3/4 in
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Korean Art
Collection: Decorative Arts
Object Number: B62M13
On Display: No

Description

Label:

The weathered plum tree is the sole decorative motif on the lacquer surface of this box. The plum blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum, and bamboo are popularly known as the “Four Gentlemen.” Each embodies a virtue of the ideal Confucian gentlemen scholar. Since they bloom in the harsh winter months, plum blossoms in particular symbolize the literati’s unyielding belief, unchanging integrity, and perseverance in the face of hardship. Naturally, scholars enjoyed painting the Four Gentlemen in monochrome ink, and the subject matter was often chosen to decorate ceramics that were associated with scholars.

The particular shape of the plum on this box is noteworthy. The newly sprouted branches are thin, yet strong, and grow straight upward, while the old crooked ones grow out horizontally. Painters during the seventeenth century were fond of this form of the weathered plum tree, and such taste influenced artists of the following generations.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Mother-of-Pearl Lacquerware from Korea", Asian Art Museum (04/29/16 - 10/23/16)

"Flower Power", Asian Art Museum, 6/23/2017-10/1/2017
Label:

The weathered plum tree is the sole decorative motif on the lacquer surface of this box. The plum blossom, orchid, chrysanthemum, and bamboo are popularly known as the “Four Gentlemen.” Each embodies a virtue of the ideal Confucian gentlemen scholar. Since they bloom in the harsh winter months, plum blossoms in particular symbolize the literati’s unyielding belief, unchanging integrity, and perseverance in the face of hardship. Naturally, scholars enjoyed painting the Four Gentlemen in monochrome ink, and the subject matter was often chosen to decorate ceramics that were associated with scholars.

The particular shape of the plum on this box is noteworthy. The newly sprouted branches are thin, yet strong, and grow straight upward, while the old crooked ones grow out horizontally. Painters during the seventeenth century were fond of this form of the weathered plum tree, and such taste influenced artists of the following generations.


Exhibition History: "Mother-of-Pearl Lacquerware from Korea", Asian Art Museum (04/29/16 - 10/23/16)

"Flower Power", Asian Art Museum, 6/23/2017-10/1/2017