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Hexagonal Tobacco Box with Lid


Artwork Details

Hexagonal Tobacco Box with Lid
late 19th–early 20th century
iron inlaid with silver
2 3/16 x 4 3/16 x 4 3/16 in. (5.5 x 10.5 x 10.5 cm);9/16 in. (1.3 cm);1 7/8 in. (4.7 cm)
Gift of Bruce and Inta Hasenkamp and Museum purchase made possible by Elder and Mrs. Sang-Yong Nam


Physical Description:

Inlaying silver into ironware was a popular method of decorating metalwork that required high levels of skill. Numerous items were produced with inlay decorations. The entire lid and body of this hexagonal case are decorated with inlaid silver. The lid features a hexagonal design in its center surrounded by a continuous four-leaf flower design. The six sides of the body are decorated by three pairs of turtle designs, crane designs and deer designs, arranged alternately. The lid and body are bordered with a fret-patterned band. This case with a flat base is excellently preserved. This type of iron-lidded case with inlaid silver design was produced in large quantities from the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, continuing through the Japanese annexation of the Korean Peninsula. Such cases are mostly octagonal; this is a rare hexagonal example.

[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2017), 244]

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