Red Pine Bandaji

Red pine, cherry; wrought iron fittings; natural lacquer 

Early to mid-nineteenth century; Naju (Cholla Province) 
Height Width Depth

Several unique qualities make this chest special: 
Naju bandaji craftsmen had a secret, and they have not let it out to this day. The hinge on a bandaji is usually the first part to go, because the heavy solid plank door causes a lot of stress. Hinges made in other regions relied on a triangular configuration of fasteners at each end to provide strength, but the more stylish vertical configuration of Naju hinges provides the same support. Each part of the hinge tapers gradually from a thick center (where the parts meet) to a thin end; this architecture is said to provide more strength than a piece of uniform thickness does. 
This chest brings long life and good fortune with it. The hinge was done in a "mushroom of immortality" motif. The plates of the "double-hook" handles on either side of the hinge use a bat motif; the pronunciation of the Chinese character for bat in both Chinese and in Korean (bok) is the same as that of the character that represents good fortune; indeed, the bat is said to bestow the "five blessings" (longevity, health, wealth, love of virtue, and a peaceful death). A specialist in this area thinks the decorative plate at the bottom is an abbreviated version of the Chinese character su, meaning 'long life'; it may also be a variation of the symbol of the "seven treasures" (gold, silver, lapis, crystal, coral, agate, and pearls). 
The wood of the body is all from the same red pine log, which must have been difficult to obtain because of the large size of the panels. Being from the same log, the wood has the same qualities, which allows all parts of the chest to breathe in harmony with changes in climate and minimize the possibility of splitting in dry weather and warping in humid weather.
Dovetail joinery was used in this chest. These yin-yang joints in the bandaji are traditionally at least as wide as and a little longer than the plank is thick.
This bandaji also boasts three recessed drawers inside, to make good use of the upper space that is usually wasted. These drawers, made from cherry wood, have elegant relief work (either clouds or "the Buddhist eye" or the mushroom of immortality). As is in authentic chests, bamboo nails were used to fasten the bottoms of the drawers. The handles on these doors use a "heavenly peach" motif.
Naju, a major city in the Chosun dynasty, is one of Korea's most important sites of classical traditional culture, which explains this chest's restrained, noble proportions and ornamentation.
Click on the view you would like to see.



The page you are on now is highlighted.

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