An enchanting ‘flower garden’ with 770 Goryeo flowers… Box of mother-of-pearl lacquerware returned from Japan

The long wandering is over.

A box of top-quality mother-of-pearl lacquerware, made with great care by a Goryeo craftsman 800 years ago, has returned to its homeland after wandering around Japan for hundreds of years.

At 10:30 a.m. on the 6th, the Overseas Cultural Heritage Foundation under the Cultural Heritage Administration (Chairman Kim Jeong-hee) will show to the media for the first time the ‘Najeon Chrysanthemum Vine Pattern Box’ from the mid-13th century Goryeo Dynasty, recently purchased from Japan, at the National Palace Museum of Korea in Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul at 10:30 am on the 6th. Mother-of-pearl lacquerware refers to a craft made with mother-of-pearl decorated with patterns and painted.

The recovered mother-of-pearl box is a small relic measuring 33cm wide and 19.4cm high. However, it is evaluated as an outstanding luxury product that shows the essence of Goryeo mother-of-pearl lacquerware in terms of patterns and workmanship. Looking at the core patterns, the patterns of chrysanthemum vines, peony vines, and dots and circles that were embroidered on Goryeo mother-of-pearl lacquerware were evenly incorporated.

Approximately 770 chrysanthemum vine patterns are decorated with mother-of-pearl on the entire surface, and approximately 30 peony vine patterns are located on the narrow side of the edge of the top plate (top of the lid). There are as many as 1,670 musical patterns tightly wrapped around the outside. The foundation explained that the number of mother-of-pearl modifications used in these patterns alone amounts to approximately 45,000.

The vine stems surrounding the chrysanthemum pattern are made of C-shaped metal wires, and the outer border is elaborately expressed using two twisted metal wires, which also attracts attention. In the chrysanthemum pattern, the center circle is only about 1.7 mm and the size of each petal is only about 2.5 mm, but each petal is engraved with engraved lines to depict the details.

The mother-of-pearl also retains its original iridescent colors and luster, showing the brilliance of the five colors, and the state of preservation of the mother-of-pearl and decorative materials such as metal wires is considered an outstanding work of art.

The foundation said, “Chrysanthemum or peony patterns made of mother-of-pearl were placed tightly and regularly on the front of the object, vine stems were depicted using single metal lines, and details were expressed by drawing engraved lines on very small cut mother-of-pearl pieces, making it one of the best examples of Goryeo mother-of-pearl lacquerware. “It shows the best quality of work,” he explained.

The recovered mother-of-pearl chrysanthemum pattern box is a rare relic that was kept in the warehouse of a private Japanese collector for over 100 years and was little known even in local academia or the ancient art industry. The foundation is said to have confirmed this artifact through a local cooperation network in July of last year, and came to the conclusion of returning it last July after about a year of investigation and negotiations.

There are only about 20 pieces of Goryeo Najeon lacquerware currently extant in the world. The patterns and state of preservation of the ‘mother-of-pearl chrysanthemum pattern statue’, which was recovered from a situation where most of it was stored abroad, are excellent enough to represent Goryeo mother-of-pearl relics at home and abroad, and the significance of discovering a new relic unknown to the existing academic world is also evaluated as great.

Mother-of-pearl lacquerware crafts use a variety of materials, including wood, lacquer, mother-of-pearl, and metal메이저놀이터. Because it goes through an elaborate and complex production process, such as attaching small pieces of mother-of-pearl to each other to decorate patterns of flowers and leaves, it is also referred to as an ‘integration of craft techniques.’

During the Goryeo Dynasty, it was considered one of the country’s best arts and crafts, along with celadon and Buddhist paintings. Seo Geung, a Song Dynasty official who came as an envoy in the first year of King Injong’s reign in 1123, praised him in his travelogue, ‘Goryeodogyeong’, as ‘a mother-of-pearl craftsman (螺鈿之工)/fine-quality expert (細密可貴)’, meaning ‘the craftsmanship of mother-of-pearl is so detailed that it is truly precious’. wrote it down

‘History of Goryeo’ also records that mother-of-pearl lacquerware was included in the gift items sent by the Goryeo government to foreign countries such as Song and Liao in the 11th century, showing that it was popular in neighboring countries at the time.

What is noteworthy is that prior to purchase, the relics were brought into the country and the production techniques and materials were analyzed to determine that they were Goryeo Najeon lacquerware. Last May, the National Palace Museum of Korea conducted a detailed analysis through scientific investigation, including It was confirmed that the technique was used.

The foundation said, “We expect that the recovered relics will be put to good use for research to restore the traditional technology of domestic mother-of-pearl lacquerware and for exhibitions to expand the people’s enjoyment of cultural heritage.”

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