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Box with Design of Auspicious Animals, Plants, and Flowers

Artist Culture
Joseon dynasty, 1392–1910
late 18th–early 19th century
Painted ox horn (hwagak) and lacquer on wood, with brass fittings
Made in
Korea, Asia
Containers, lacquerware
Current Location
On View, Gallery 227
7 1/16 x 11 13/16 x 7 7/8 in. (18 x 30 x 20 cm)
Credit Line
Asian Art Purchase Fund and funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Liddy and Mr. and Mrs. John Peters MacCarthy
Public Domain
Object Number
This box is decorated in the typical Korean technique known as "hwagak" (flowery horn). Ox-horn pieces are flattened through soaking and heating and then glued onto a wooden core. Colorful designs, including most of the "sipjangsaeng" (Ten Symbols of Longevity), were painted on the underside of the transparent ox-horn. The most important motifs are on the lid: two dragons, two phoenixes, and two cranes carrying the fungus of immortality, all shown amidst multicolored clouds. The box was likely made as a wedding gift for a high-ranking lady of the Korean aristocracy, who would have used it to store her jewelry, hair ornaments, and finger rings in jade or amber.
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