Traditional Korean Furniture
a collection of korean furniture and wall hangings on display at WAM

About the Art

The variety and breadth of the Weisman’s collection of traditional Korean furniture is unmatched in the United States, and is perhaps unrivaled outside Asia. The collection includes about 200 examples of Choson dynasty (1392–1910) furniture, 80 Silla dynasty (668–935 B.C.) stoneware pieces, some 150 folk paintings and wooden bowls and utensils, in addition to other folk arts and crafts. The collection came to the Weisman Art Museum as a bequest from Dr. Edward Reynolds Wright Jr. in 1988.

During the years he lived in Korea, and in the years after he left Seoul for Japan and San Francisco, Wright put together a collection of traditional Korean furniture and accessories that is both beautiful and varied. He collected carefully, to make sure he had all regional styles, all kinds of wood, and all types of boxes represented. His collection includes clothing storage chests for men’s and women’s quarters, bed-headside chests, tray tables for eating and for food offerings to ancestors, boxes for documents and writing instruments, letter holders, desks, kitchen cabinets, rice and bean storage chests, wedding gift boxes, beds, coin chests, medicine chests, make-up boxes and mirrors, tobacco boxes, sewing boxes, book shelves and book chests, and a palanquin (a coach carried by poles on the shoulders). Nearly every wood, decorative material, and joinery technique is represented in the collection.