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Memorial Altar Chair (Gyoui)

Asian Art

MEDIUM Wood, lacquer
DATES 19th century
DYNASTY Joseon dynasty
DIMENSIONS 48 × 23 × 12 1/2 in. (121.9 × 58.4 × 31.8 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of the Carroll Family Collection
CAPTION Memorial Altar Chair (Gyoui), 19th century. Wood, lacquer, 48 × 23 × 12 1/2 in. (121.9 × 58.4 × 31.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Carroll Family Collection, 2020.18.15 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.TL2020.25.12_front.jpg)
IMAGE front, CUR.TL2020.25.12_front.jpg. Brooklyn Museum, 2020
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Diminutive arm chair with tall legs, used in traditional Korean ancestral shrines to hold the the spirit plaques representing a deceased family member. With rectangular seat and single-slat back, the chair-shaped altar has scrolling elements at the end of each arm and protruding from the sides of the back. The long, straight legs are supported at the base by struts joining the front legs to the back, and roughly halfway up by a panel joining all four legs. The whole chair is stained and finished in a clear lacquer or shellac. Chair-shaped altars like this were installed in separate ancestor shrine buildings, or in special rooms or areas of a traditional upper-class home. They typically held a cabinet with doors on the front that could be opened to reveal the spirit plaques inside.Offerings were made to the ancestors enshrined on the altar, usually placed on larger, lower tables placed in front of the high chair altars.
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