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Box: O.12-1984

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown




Toilet box with buddhist motifs. Wood, covered with reverse-painted horn, with metal fittings. The cover of this box can be folded back to support a rectangular mirror which is hidden inside. Beneath it are two tiers of drawers for cosmetics. The box is made of pinewood and covered with plaques of painted ox horn, a technique called hwagak. This involved cutting, flattening and polishing pieces of horn into thin translucent squares, which were then painted on the reverse and attached to the box. The nine plaques of the top are decorated with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, a goat, an elephant, tigers and tortoises, the twelve plaques on each side and the nine on the back with similar animals as well as deer, peonies and camellias, and the six plaques of the front with further Buddhas, peonies, a tortoise and a horse; they are painted in light green, yellow, and bright red on a red background. The lock, handles, hinges and corner fittings are made of 'white bronze' (paektong).


History note: Unknown before donor

Legal notes

Gompertz Gift

Measurements and weight

Height: 19.4 cm
Length: 27.0 cm
Width: 19.8 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1984) by Gompertz, G. St. G. M., Mr and Mrs


Choson Dynasty (1392 - 1910)
19th Century
Circa 1800 - 1900


Such pieces with their soft and warm colours were popular items for ladies' dressing tables.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Metal Fittings composed of white bronze ( paektong)
Plaques composed of ox horn
Box composed of pinewood
Exterior Of Box

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: O.12-1984
Primary reference Number: 16615
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 24 October 2019 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Box" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-21 19:59:54

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{{cite web|url= |title=Box |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-21 19:59:54|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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