Rare Korean Sharkskin/Brasswire Inlaid Bean Chest


1860; chestnut wood with sharkskin, brass-wire inlay; found on Kang-Wha Island.

This is no ordinary bean chest.  It was found on Kang Wha Island, a political prison colony for the Kingdom of Korea for two thousand years.  This was where many members of the elite class in disfavor with the Court were sent into exile.  Furniture was not highly regarded at that time and was allowed to be taken to the island prison for personal use.

This bean chest was discovered on the island after the Japanese Occupation by an American missionary doctor who went to the prison to treat the sick and the dying.  He could take it away as furniture was not valued by the government at that period.  Today, any antique furniture with sharkskin inlay is rare and valuable as not many items inlaid with it survived.  The piece was certified as rare by a Professor of Korean History and Antiquity approved by the Korean government in the1900s.

Price: enquire