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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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KOREAN MOTHER OF PEARL INLAID INKSTONE DESK
Feb 25, 11:00 AM CST
KOREAN MOTHER OF PEARL INLAID INKSTONE DESK
by Lewis & Maese Antiques & Auctions
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$1,10013 Bids
A SMALL KOREAN MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID LACQUER ‘FLOWERS’ TABLE
Mar 02, 10:00 AM JST
A SMALL KOREAN MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID LACQUER ‘FLOWERS’ TABLE
by Fukuoka Yumekai Auction
Est: ¥0- ¥0
¥10,0000 Bids
A KOREAN MOTHER-OF- PEARL INLAID LACQUER TABLE
Mar 02, 10:00 AM JST
A KOREAN MOTHER-OF- PEARL INLAID LACQUER TABLE
by Fukuoka Yumekai Auction
Est: ¥0- ¥0
¥10,0000 Bids
A KOREAN WOOD CHEST
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN WOOD CHEST
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £60- £80
£600 Bids
A SMALL KOREAN BANDAJI WOOD CHEST
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A SMALL KOREAN BANDAJI WOOD CHEST
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £60- £80
£600 Bids
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £80- £100
£800 Bids
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £80- £100
£800 Bids
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £80- £100
£800 Bids
A KOREAN WOOD CHEST OF DRAWERS
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN WOOD CHEST OF DRAWERS
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £80- £100
£800 Bids
A KOREAN ELM CABINET
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN ELM CABINET
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £100- £150
£1000 Bids
A KOREAN ELM LOW CABINET
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN ELM LOW CABINET
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £100- £150
£1000 Bids
A KOREAN TALL ELM CABINET
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN TALL ELM CABINET
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £200- £400
£2000 Bids
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £200- £400
£2000 Bids
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
Feb 20, 12:15 AM GMT
A KOREAN WOOD CABINET
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £200- £400
£2000 Bids
Vintage Korean Banjadi Scholar Brass Trim Chest
Feb 22, 12:00 PM EST
Vintage Korean Banjadi Scholar Brass Trim Chest
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $300- $500
$1000 Bids
A KOREAN MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID LACQUER 'DRAGON' CHEST
Mar 02, 10:00 AM JST
A KOREAN MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID LACQUER 'DRAGON' CHEST
by Fukuoka Yumekai Auction
Est: ¥0- ¥0
¥10,0000 Bids
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Two Korean Wood Boxes
Feb 23, 11:00 AM PST
Two Korean Wood Boxes
by Wealthier Art & Auction
Est: $50- $100
$300 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Korean Furniture


Chiswick Auctions

Chiswick Auctions

Fukuoka Yumekai Auction

Fukuoka Yumekai Auction

Lewis & Maese Antiques & Auctions

Lewis & Maese Antiques & Auctions

Greenwich Auction

Greenwich Auction