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Korean Furniture

Traditional Korean furniture is easily recognized by its humble stature and use of time honored materials. With its size and distinctive materials, Korean furniture is in many ways antithetical to its European counterparts produced during the same period.

Most notably, Korean furniture is generally low lying, reflecting the long-established belief that objects taller than humans prohibit spirits from traveling freely. The design and humble stature of Korean furniture is also meant to convey the architectural, functional, and aesthetic qualities of customary Korean abodes known as hanoks. Traditional examples of Korean furniture have been referred to as miniatures of hanok for their interest in echoing the formal architectural qualities inherent to the homes.

The time-honored materials used in Korean furniture construction consist of red oak, lacquered wood, tortoise shell, and Zelkova and Paulownia wood. Small and portable dining tables known as sobans are a unique component of Korean furniture. Sobans were at one time so ubiquitous that a single household might have as many as fifty in their residence. Traditionally, diners would have their own individual soban. Styles of sobans differ markedly between various regions.


Quick Facts

  • Artisans often used Paulwonia trees in the fabrication of furniture because of its dark coloration, light weight, and resistance to insects
  • For millennia, many families planted a Paulwonia tree to celebrate the birth of a daughter. When she married, the tree was cut down and made into furniture for her new household
  • Koreans conventionally spent much of their domestic time seated, which helps to explain the low height of the majority of their furniture

Recommended Items at Auction

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Decorative Korean chest in Elm, 85cm L, 36cm D, 37cm H
Oct 24, 7:00 PM AEDT
Decorative Korean chest in Elm, 85cm L, 36cm D, 37cm H
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD18011 Bids
Korean Tansu Cabinet
Oct 28, 7:00 PM EDT
Korean Tansu Cabinet
by Lettieri Auction & Appraisal
Est: $150- $400
$700 Bids
KOREAN METAL MOUNTED WOOD CHEST
Oct 28, 10:00 AM EDT
KOREAN METAL MOUNTED WOOD CHEST
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $300- $500
$1750 Bids
GYUHAN LEE Carton de boîte a chaussures
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
GYUHAN LEE Carton de boîte a chaussures
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €1,700- €2,500
€1,3000 Bids
GYUHAN LEE Carton de boîte a chaussures
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
GYUHAN LEE Carton de boîte a chaussures
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €2,500- €3,500
€2,0000 Bids
GEDION KIM Fil métallique, fil de coton
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
GEDION KIM Fil métallique, fil de coton
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €3,600- €4,200
€2,8000 Bids
GEDION KIM Fil métallique, corde
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
GEDION KIM Fil métallique, corde
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €3,600- €4,200
€2,8000 Bids
HYUNGSHIN HWANG Frêne
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
HYUNGSHIN HWANG Frêne
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €22,000- €26,000
€17,0000 Bids
YOUNGMIN KANG PVC
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
YOUNGMIN KANG PVC
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €5,500- €7,500
€4,2000 Bids
YOUNGMIN KANG PVC
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
YOUNGMIN KANG PVC
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €5,500- €7,500
€4,2000 Bids
Jeonghwa Seo Acier, Merbeau Edition limitée
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
Jeonghwa Seo Acier, Merbeau Edition limitée
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €10,000- €15,000
€8,0000 Bids
SEUNGHAN BAEK Aluminium anodisé violet
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
SEUNGHAN BAEK Aluminium anodisé violet
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €1,500- €1,800
€1,2000 Bids
SEUNGHAN BAEK Aluminium anodisé orange
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
SEUNGHAN BAEK Aluminium anodisé orange
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €1,500- €1,800
€1,2000 Bids
SEUNGHAN BAEK Aluminium anodisé bleu
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
SEUNGHAN BAEK Aluminium anodisé bleu
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €1,500- €1,800
€1,2000 Bids
HYUNGSHIN HWANG Acier inoxydable
Oct 26, 2:30 PM CEST
HYUNGSHIN HWANG Acier inoxydable
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Est: €28,000- €35,000
€22,0000 Bids
A SMALL WOOD CABINET CONTAINTING THREE DRAWERS AND DECORATIVE BRASS MOUNTS
Nov 11, 9:30 AM CET
A SMALL WOOD CABINET CONTAINTING THREE DRAWERS AND DECORATIVE BRASS MOUNTS
by Nagel Auction
Est: €300- €500
€3000 Bids
KOREAN SMALL CHEST , IRON HARDWARE 19TH.C. H 23" W 27.5" D 12.5"
Nov 11, 11:00 AM EST
KOREAN SMALL CHEST , IRON HARDWARE 19TH.C. H 23" W 27.5" D 12.5"
by DuMouchelles
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
A WOOD CABINET WITH A HINGED FRONT DOOR AND METAL MOUNTS
Nov 11, 9:30 AM CET
A WOOD CABINET WITH A HINGED FRONT DOOR AND METAL MOUNTS
by Nagel Auction
Est: €800- €1,200
€8000 Bids
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A LARGE 'BAMBOO STEMS' PAINTED TEN-FOLD SCREEN Korea, early 20th century
Nov 01, 10:00 AM GMT
A LARGE 'BAMBOO STEMS' PAINTED TEN-FOLD SCREEN Korea, early 20th century
by Bonhams
Est: £4,000- £6,000
£4,0000 Bids
Korean cabinet, approx 90cm H x 173cm W x 50cm D
Oct 31, 9:30 AM AEDT
Korean cabinet, approx 90cm H x 173cm W x 50cm D
by Vickers & Hoad
Est: AUD300- AUD500
AUD2400 Bids
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KOREAN BRASS MOUNTED HARDWOOD LOW CABINET
Nov 02, 10:00 AM GMT
KOREAN BRASS MOUNTED HARDWOOD LOW CABINET
by Sheppards
Est: €300- €500
€1800 Bids
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KOREAN LAMP CABINET
Nov 03, 10:00 AM GMT
KOREAN LAMP CABINET
by Sheppards
Est: €200- €300
€1200 Bids
A Pair of Korean Diminutive Tansu's
Nov 06, 10:00 AM EDT
A Pair of Korean Diminutive Tansu's
by Alex Cooper
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Two Korean Elmwood Diminutive Altar Cabinets
Nov 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Two Korean Elmwood Diminutive Altar Cabinets
by Alex Cooper
Est: $300- $400
$1500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Korean Furniture


Cornette de Saint-Cyr

Cornette de Saint-Cyr

Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper

Nagel Auction

Nagel Auction

Sheppards

Sheppards