Lacquer with mother–of–pearl and tortoiseshell inlay; H. 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm), W. 18 1/8 in. (46 cm), L. 31 1/8 in. (79.1 cm)
Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving (L.1996.47.131)
This clothing box, plainly finished with a thin coating of lacquer on the inside, is lavishly decorated on its exterior with peony scrolls bounded by bands of standardized geometric designs. Repeating floral motifs or scrolls, as on this piece, often adorn lacquer boxes from the Joseon period. The enclosure of the decoration on the top of the box within an ogival frame, the variation of the peony blossoms in size and direction, and the spread of the scroll design over the entire surface all indicate that the box was made relatively early in the Joseon period. The production of Joseon lacquer, particularly before the nineteenth century, was under the strict control of the royal court.