1860, chestnut wood, sharkskin/brass wire inlay, found on Kang-Wha Island, Kyung Ki Do Province. 8″ w, 14″ d, 11.75″ h.
This box was used to store ink-stone, brushes, and writing papers for a member of the scholar/official class. Writing and doing calligraphy painting was the favorite pastime of that elite class of people. The expensive inlay material used on this box shows this was a treasured piece for that scholar. He must have found disfavor at Court and was sent into exile on Kang-Wha Island, a political prison colony for the Kingdom of Korea for two thousand years. He was allowed to take his personal belongings with him because many household items were not considered important and valuable by the government at the time. This box and many other unique items were recovered by an American missionary doctor who went to the colony to tend to the sick and dying after the Japanese Occupation. It is certified as rare by an appraiser approved by the government in the 1900s. This exquisite little box, inlaid with rare sharkskin, deserves to be in an art institute or museum.