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Lacquer Garment Box

1840-1850, Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Korea

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Lacquer Garment Box

Inlaid with mother-of-pearl and featuring auspicious symbols of long Life and prosperity including Cranes, Immortal Peaches, Peonies, Phoenixes, Clouds, and the Chinese character "Shuang xi" [double happiness], this garment box would have been presented as a gift between members of the aristocracy yangban.The box has been dated by a leading Korean crafts scholar to 1840-1850.

On the top, the Chinese character for "double happiness" is framed by splayed, leafy branches bearing immortal peaches, and a pair of flying phoenixes. Below each phoenix is another peach tree and clouds. The cover is bordered with peonies in full bloom and scrolling vines, which are inlaid via the "cracked shell" kkeneumjil method.

On the long sides, a flying phoenix is flanked on each side by immortal peaches, "double happiness," and clouds. Cranes round the box corners. A thin strip of mother-of-pearl borders the top and bottom. The design on the sides c ontinues from the top part to bottom part to give the appearance of an unbroken piece.

On the ends, the "double happiness" symbol is flanked by clouds, cranes and peaches.

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