Exquisite Wedding Box with Mother-of-pearl Inlay

1870, Choson or Yi Dynasty; lime wood and mother-of-pearl.  Certified                                                    25.75″w, 13″d, 10″h

This box is meticulously inlaid with mother-of-pearl in star-burst designs which cover all sides of the box except the bottom.  With inlay of such expensive material plus costly labor doing it, this box must be a wedding present for a bride in the palace.  She would likely put it on top of an equally exquisite clothing chest to store her intimate clothing items and other value personal belongings.  The lock-plate is a simple black iron plate which was chosen to contrast but compliment the intricately inlaid design to create an object of understated elegance.

This exquisite box was found after the Japanese Occupation on Kanghwa Island, a prison colony for the Kingdom of Korea for two thousand years.  It was recovered by an American missionary doctor who was invited to go there to treat the sick and the dying.  He passed it later on to a Korean Professor of Korean History and Antiquity.  It survived in excellent condition and 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.