Mid 19th C, pine and zelkova, Kyung Ki Do Provence. Made from valued wood; has coin wealth motif lock-plate; certified.
32” h. 34½” h. 22¼” d.
Originally this chest was lacquered a dark color but stripped and left the way it is in the Korean warehouse when the beautiful wood grain of the highly prized zelkova is revealed. This grain pattern provides a decorative touch to an otherwise ordinary but essential piece of furniture in a Korean household. Rice was the staple of the Korean diet. A Yi or Chosen family’s income was measured in rice.
The top of the chest lifts up three-quarters of the way from the front with no hinges. It has ample storage space inside, all the way to behind the two side-by-side small decorative recessed panels. The two sides of the chest also show the beautiful wood grain of the zelkova. The iron lock-plate on this chest has two carved coin motifs, denoting wealth. Since zelkova wood was valued in Korea so this spacious rice chest was likely made for a rich Korean family. It survived in excellent condition. It has such a clean but decorative pattern it would look great in any contemporary room today.