Rare Korean Sharkskin Wedding Box

1870, pear wood, sharkskin and brass-wire inlay, iron fittings, Kangwha Island, Kyung Ki Do Province.  23.75″w, 10.5″d,  12.5″h.

This rare sharkskin inlaid box was found in Kangwha Island, a political prison colony for the Kingdom of Korea for 2000 years. after the Japanese Occupation by an American missionary doctor who went there to treat the sick and dying.  Furniture was not treasured by the elite class or the government at that era, so he was able to take any furniture the prisoners left behind.

This box is so expensively decorated with inlays of rare sharkskin and thin reverse brass wire that it must have belonged to a member of the Royal Court who was sent into exile.  It is a wedding box once containing the bride’s wedding gifts and treasured personal items.  This relic has hand-made iron fittings that became rusted with age and shows a wonderful patina of old age.  It was certified as rare by a Professor of Korean History and Antiquity, one of only thirteen certifiers approved by the Korean government in the 1900s.


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