Offered by: Tishu
By appointment only Atlanta, GA 30327 , United States Call Seller 305.400.0561


Fine Korean Box with Tray Iron with Silver Inlay Joseon Dynasty

$ 8,800
  • Description
    A fine Korean iron box with intricate silver inlay dated to the late Joseon Dynasty circa 19th century. The body of the box is made from iron of a heavy weight although the wear on the base has exposed a bronze metal color underneath, indicating the iron metal contains a high level of copper. The surface was beautifully decorated with elaborate silver inlay that covers the entire surface except the base. The extraordinary workmanship is a technique called "jjoeum-ipsa", in which the silver wires were hammered into the scorched iron surface to create the elaborate design. Such box was traditionally used to store tobacco leaves, although other small items could be kept as well.
    The silver inlay decoration on the box is exquisite. The lid is centered with a large Chinese character "Xi" (Paired-Hui in Korean), which means double happiness. (In Chinese culture, it is often used in a wedding ceremony, indicating this box might have been a wedding gift). The large symbol was set in a roundel with archaic key and scrolling pattern double border, all set within a similar archaic key border defined by the edge of the box. In between, lucky coin lattice fills in the space, creating a tight design. This overall design was consistently used on the four sides of the box, but each side was anchored by a trigram of Hangul (Bagua in Chinese) in the center, representing the element of water, metal, thunder and fire respectively. The box has an inner tray made of wood and cushioned in padded velvet with two coral beads pullers. The tray and the interior of the box was lined with a pattern waxed paper, which shows good age. This is a later adaptation perhaps for the box to be used to store other valuables like jewelries. The base has four rounded feet.
    Tobacco was introduced to Korean in the first half of the 17th century and gradually gained popularity. When the tobacco was started being smoked in shredded form instead of rolled leaves, there rose the production of the smoking accessories, with some in fine quality as luxury items for the elite. The accoutrement such as this box is a fine example made in late Joseon dynasty, using extensive silver inlay.
    Similar boxes with variation of shape and motifs are in the collection of several major museums. Compare the box with item Gu 754 in the National Museum of Korea; item 22.78 in MET NYC and M.240:1, 2-1926 in V& A Museum in London. The most closely related example we found is item C232 in the collection of the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne.
  • More Information
    Origin: South Korea
    Period: 19th Century
    Materials: silver, iron
    Condition: Good. Fine example with very good condition, minor oxidation and patina along edges and corners. Interior lined and show ages. Base show natural darkening, oxidation and shelf wear.
    Creation Date: 19th century
    Styles / Movements: Asian, Traditional
    Patterns: Asian/Oriental, Geometric, Handmade
    Incollect Reference #: 726058
  • Dimensions
    W. 6 in; H. 3.25 in; D. 4.3 in;
    W. 15.24 cm; H. 8.26 cm; D. 10.92 cm;
Message from Seller:

Our collection ranges from Neolithic Art to 20th century collectible art and design. It spans 5000 thousand years of history and crosses many civilizations and cultures. Our aesthetic strongholds are Mid-century studio design, Japanese and Korean art, Asian Textile Art and Contemporary Aboriginal Art. The diversity is united behind our singular vision to seek for timeless beauty and driven purely by our passion

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