1860; paulownia wood, oiled rice paper; Kang Won Do province. Certified.
This stacked chest is made of paulownia wood covered with cut rice paper then oiled. This wood is quite light, known to withstand temperate changes, and is heavily grained but the grain is without contrast in coloration so could be quite dull. Covering this stacked chest with paper and decorating the small door panels with painting then coating it with perilla oil camouflage this otherwise subdue piece of furniture and make it stand out. With age, the colorful paintings on the doors have become muted, the designs hard to recognize. The varied colors of the cut paper on this stacked chest, however, give it a very arresting look. The original simple iron lock-plates and hinges complement this aged look. The bottom unit ends with angular scrolled feet.
Painted oil paper covered furniture is quite rare. It was usually given away as a wedding present. This delicate-looking double chest with small doors was made for women’s quarter to store small clothing items such as socks and clothing wraps. The light paulownia wood makes it easy to be moved around. This aged piece with a wonderful patina is certified as rare by a Korean Professor of Korean History and Antiquity, one of only thirteen certifiers approved by the Korean government in the 1900s.