Black lacquer with mother-of-pearl inlay
H. 3 1/2 in. (9 cm), W. 14 3/8 in. (36.5 cm)
Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving (L.1992.62.3a,b)
The production of inlaid lacquer in Korea continued in the Joseon period, during which time the fine detail and mosaiclike patterns of Goryeo inlaid lacquers were replaced by larger and more prominent designs. The scrolling floral vine on this fifteenth-century box is formed with thin strips of mother-of-pearl, with larger, crackled pieces depicting the leaves and flowers. It is noteworthy that three different types of flowers grow on the same scrolling vine; that the vine covers the entire surface; and that the larger leaves are of the acanthus type, with its characteristic curled-back ends. The only concurrence of all these elements in the decorative arts of East Asia took place in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.