JANG – 장

Feature image: Jang – Two level chest. Zelkova wood, lacquer, brass fittings. H. 134cm, W. 103cm, D. 47cm. Early 19th century. Collection Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, Minnesota. USA.

The “Jang” was a type of furniture traditionally used for storing clothes in Korean households. However, due to cost considerations, most modest households opted for the “Bandaji“. As a result, the “Jang” was primarily found in the homes of the nobility.

Towards the end of the 19th century, with the advent of industrialization and an increase in the general population’s wealth, its usage expanded to a broader segment of society. It is believed that the majority of the pieces available on the market today date from the 20th century.

Typically, “Jang” furniture is constructed with one, two, or three levels, each featuring small doors at the center of every level. Each level serves as an open compartment, devoid of drawers or internal divisions. Additionally, there are often four small drawers located at the top, and a decorative stand to elevate it above the heated floor, known as “ondol”.

The construction of the front part of the furniture involves the assembly of panels inserted into frames. Elm was a commonly used wood for the frames, while fruit trees with more decorative grain patterns, such as maple, cherry, and tree roots, were employed for the panels.

The sides, back, and top of the furniture were typically crafted from pine or paulownia wood.

Hinges, used for both reinforcement and decoration, were often made from yellow or white brass. These hinges frequently featured numerous auspicious motifs, especially on furniture intended for women’s quarters.

Korean Jangs.
Unusual three level chest called “Mandarin duck cabinet” with its double doors on the bottom row.
Leg’s design of a Jang.
Yellow brass lock plate on a Jang
Yellow brass doors fittings
Small Bat design drawer puller.

THE MORIJANG – 머릿장

MORIJANG.
Single level chest usually called head-side chest with four drawers, double doors and white metal hardware. 

The morijang was the subject of a post on this website we invite you to consult it at: https://www.koreanantiquefurniture.com/morijang/

ICH’UNG JANG – 이층장

ICH’UNG JANG. Elm & Pinewood body. Maple wood front frames, pearwood front panels.. White brass fittings.
Late 19th century. Gyeonggi province.
H. 128cm, W. 100cm, D. 45cm. Collection ANTIKASIA.
Typical Jang called Ich’ung Jang or two level chest. Two level compartment with small doors under a row of small drawers used to store small accessories. Best Jang were built in one section and not two separated boxes on top of each others
ICH’UNG JANG. Elm, pine and paulownia wood. yellow brass fittings. 19th century. H. 140cm, W. 154cm, D. 45cm.
Collection: National museum of Korea.
ICH’UNG JANG. Pine & zelkova wood, yellow brass fittings. Collection: Korean Traditional Creation Museum.
ICH’UNG JANG.
H. 131cm, W. 100cm, D. 47cm. Joseon Dynasty, Collection Hongik University, Seoul, Korea.
ICH’UNG JANG. Thin lacquer on wood, yellow brass fittings. Early 20th century. Private collection.
ICH’UNG JANG. Zelkova wood, yellow brass fittings.
H 145,9cm, W. 107,8cm, D. 51cm.
Collection The Ganghwa History Museum.
ICH’UNG JANG.  Joseon Dynasty 19th century
H. 113cm, W. 81 cm, D. 38cm.
The main structure is made of cedar wood. The inside of the drawer is made of zelkova wood, and the side panels and back plate are made of pine. 
Two drawers were made under the top board.
The handle of the drawer is in the shape of a bat, and the circular hinges are made of yellow brass. 
The corner plates on the front are decorated with the Chinese character 卍 and the herb of immortality on the two top corner plate and the middle and lower parts. Collection of the Gyeonggi Provincial Museum. Korea.

ICH’UNG JANG.  Joseon Dynasty 19th century.
H. 146,9cm, W. 113cm, D. 57,7cm.
Collection of Onyang Folk Museum
ICH’UNG JANG.  Joseon Dynasty. Early 20th century. Pine & elm wood, yellow brass fittings. Private collection.
ICH’UNG JANG. Two level chest H. 111cm, W. 95cm, D. 43cm. Collection: Korean Folk Museum, Seoul.
Two level chest. Pine & elm wood, white brass fittings. Masan area, Gyeongsang Do province. H. 161cm, W. 90cm, D. 45cm. Collection: National Folk Museum, Seoul.
This chest has the particularity to have an additional row of drawers at the bottom.
Two level chest. H. 111cm, W. 91,3cm, D. 42,5cm. Collection: National Museum of Korea.

SAMCH’UNG JANG – THREE LEVEL CHEST. 삼층장

SAMCH’UNG JANG. Dimension.
SAMCH’UNG JANG. Zelkova wood, yellow brass fittings. Gyeonggi-do province. Joseon period , 19th century, Collection the Portland Art Museum, USA.
SAMCH’UNG JANG. Joseon 19th century,
H. 175cm, W. 112cm, D. 56,2cm.
Collection Hoam Museum, Seoul, Korea.
SAMCH’UNG JANG. Joseon 19th century. Elm wood frame and elm roots panel, persimmon bottom panels. Square brass fittings. Bat design puller plates. Private collection.

SAMCH’UNG JANG.
Paulownia & pine wood body, pear wood frame (front), Korean ash wood panels (front), persimmon wood inlay. Yellow brass fittings. Gyeonggi province. Early to mid 19th Century.
H. 166 cm, W. 110 cm, D. 50 cm. Collection “ANTIKASIA”.
SAMCH’UNG JANG.
Elm wood, white brass fittings.
H. 173cm, W. 118cm, D. 53,8cm.
Collection The Ganghwa History Museum. Korea.
SAMCH’UNG JANG.
Elm wood, white brass fittings.
H. 168cm, W. 115cm, D. 51cm. 20th century.
SAMCH’UNG JANG. Elm & pine wood, yellow brass fittings. Private collection.
SAMCH’UNG JANG. H. 163,2 cm, W. 144,5 cm, D. 45,6 cm. Collection national Museum of Korea.
Photo left: Three-level clothing chest. Burlwood, Keyaki and paulownia. Yellow brass fittings. Early 20th century.
H. 169cm, W. 95,5cm, D. 48,5cm.
Collection National Museum of Korea.


Photo right: Detail of the front of the chest which reveal a very attractive grain and color of the burlwood.
SAMCH’UNG JANG. Pine and elm wood. Yellow brass fittings. Private collection.
KOREAN THREE LEVEL CHEST.
Zelkova wood, yellow brass fittings.
H. 160,5cm, W. 105,3cm, D. 52cm.
Late 19th to early 20th century. Collection: National Museum of Korea.
Three level chest H. 175cm, W. 99cm, D. 45cm.
Collection: National Folk Museum, Seoul.
Three level chest. H. 167,5cm, W. 108cm, D. 53,5cm.
Collection: National Folk Museum, Seoul.
Three level chest. Collection: National Folk Museum, Seoul.
Three level chest. Persimmon wood front panels.
Yellow brass fittings. Early 20th century.
Collection: Gyeonggi University Plastic Museum.
Three level chest. Burl wood front panels.
Yellow brass fittings. Early 20th century.
Collection: Gyeonggi University Plastic Museum.

APPENDIX 1: JANG or NONG.

Distinguishing between “Jang” and “Nong” is not always straightforward. Extensive research and furniture identification have led us to the conclusion that “Jang” is typically constructed as a single unit with an extended top, whereas “Nong” consists of two identical stackable components, as illustrated in the drawing below.

JANG (Left) vs NONG (Right)

APPENDIX 2:

“WARDROBE MOSAIC” – 장농 Jangnong.

“THINGS KOREAN” by Lee O-Young and translated by John Holstein.

“We think of the wardrobe as a place to hang our clothes. But it would be more accurate to speak ok Korea’s traditional wardrobe as a place to pile clothes.

In Korea’s wardrobe the clothes are folded and stacked on top of each other.

Each layer has its own special nature. In the summer, the layer way down at the bottom is winter clothing, but after a few months has passed, look again-now the summer clothing is buried down there. And the layer in the middle will hold clothing for the more temperate months. So the strata revolve according to the revolution of the seasons.

The wardrobe does not come in only one size or type. The feature which best distinguishes one wardrobe from another is the number of levels it has. There is the two-shelf wardrobe, the three-shelf wardrobe, and so on.”

Illustrations: A two-shelf wardrobe, a three-shelf wardrobe.

Two-level wardrobe. ICH’UNG JANG.
Three-level wardrobe SAMCH’UNG JANG.
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