Small Chest of Drawers with Decoration of Flowers, Birds, and Insects

Period: late Joseon dynasty (1392–1910)

Date: early 20th century

Culture: Korea

Medium: Lacquer inlaid with mother-of-pearl, with incised design

Dimensions: H. 11 3/8 in. (28.9 cm); W. 12 7/8 in. (32.7 cm); D. 9 7/8 in. (25.1 cm)

Classification: Lacquer

Credit Line: Purchase, Seymour Fund, Mary and James G. Wallach Foundation Gift, and Friends of Korean Art Gifts, 2006

Accession Number: 2006.260a–g


This chest is an excellent example of an early twentieth-century lacquer box with allover mother-of-pearl decoration. The incised floral motifs filled with black ink or charcoal make the piece particularly striking. The shape, size, and compartments suggest that this chest held writing or cosmetic paraphernalia.