Wild Walnut Nong

Wild walnut, yellow brass fittings, red soil-natural 
lacquer finish. 

Mid-nineteenth century, from the old mercantile city Kaesong (just across the border in North Korea). 
Height Width Depth

Elegant two-unit stacked chests (nong) made of wild walnut, like this one, are unique to the Kaesong region (Korea's foremost mercantile city in the nineteenth century). A family brought this prized chest with them to the south during the Korean war.
The fittings on this nong are the most elaborate of all the chests in these pages. The lock is an unusual double-latch fastener; the lock plate's motif is the "longevity mushroom." The top and bottom yellow brass hinges are a combination of interlocking squares and circles called the "seven treasures," and the hinges between these may be a variation of the longevity fungus. The fittings are all original, except for a couple nail covers (the small, round pieces), which cannot be authenticated with complete certainty.
Natural lacquer (ot-ch'il) is the sap of the ot tree, the Asian sumac (Rhus verniciflua); it is applied either in its natural colorless state (see the zelkova jang), or mixed with natural pigments, as it has been for this chest.
The stand is not the chest's original stand.
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1. Black paulownia nong

2. Linden bandaji

3. Zelkova burl jang

4. Paulownia ham

5. Red paulownia nong

6. Wild walnut nong

7. Red pine ham

8. Cherry bandaji

9. Zelkova bandaji

10. Persimmon nong

11. Zelkova lattice jang

12. Pine framed bandaji

13. Red pine bandaji