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Box with peony motif
모란 무늬 상자
Place of Origin: Korea
Date: approx. 1550-1650
Historical Period: Joseon dynasty (1392-1910)
Materials: Lacquered wood with inlaid mother-of-pearl
Dimensions: H. 5 1/2 in x W. 15 in x D. 12 1/8 in, H. 14 cm x W. 38.1 cm x D. 30.8 cm
Credit Line: Acquisition made possible by Koret Foundation Funds
Department: Korean Art
Collection: Decorative Arts
Object Number: 2006.6.a-.b
On Display: No

Description

Label: The peony symbolizes fortune and prosperity in East Asian cultures and it is one of the most commonly used motifs on mother-of-pearl lacquerware. The significance of this box lies in the fact that only mother-of-pearl was used to decorate the lacquered surface. Usually, wires or other supplementary materials were selected to depict peony branches. However, the artisan here adopted a very challenging thin-slicing technique (kkeun’eum-jil) for the branches. After preparing an extremely thin sheet of mother-of-pearl, the artisan cut the pieces into long, thin strips using a special saw. Preparing the mother-of-pearl strips requires tremendous concentration and skill, but applying these thin, fragile strips onto the surface is even more challenging. Only a skillful and seasoned artisan could succeed in creating the rhythmic, curvy lines seen on this lacquer box.

More Information

Exhibition History: "Korean Art Collections in the United States", National Museum of Korea, June 4-August 5, 2012

"Mother-of-Pearl Lacquerware from Korea", Asian Art Museum (04/29/16 - 10/23/16)
Label: The peony symbolizes fortune and prosperity in East Asian cultures and it is one of the most commonly used motifs on mother-of-pearl lacquerware. The significance of this box lies in the fact that only mother-of-pearl was used to decorate the lacquered surface. Usually, wires or other supplementary materials were selected to depict peony branches. However, the artisan here adopted a very challenging thin-slicing technique (kkeun’eum-jil) for the branches. After preparing an extremely thin sheet of mother-of-pearl, the artisan cut the pieces into long, thin strips using a special saw. Preparing the mother-of-pearl strips requires tremendous concentration and skill, but applying these thin, fragile strips onto the surface is even more challenging. Only a skillful and seasoned artisan could succeed in creating the rhythmic, curvy lines seen on this lacquer box.
Exhibition History: "Korean Art Collections in the United States", National Museum of Korea, June 4-August 5, 2012

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