Persimmon wood called 감나무 “Kam Namu” in Korean belong to the family “Diospyros kaki”.

Originating in Eastern Asia, as evidenced by its presence in Chinese culture as early as several centuries B.C., the persimmon made its way to Japan in the seventh century and to Korea in the fourteenth century.

While persimmon trees belong to the same genus as ebony trees and are sometimes referred to as “white ebony,” their grain is straight.

Persimmon tree wood has limited utility in the manufacture of items that require hard wood. It is hard, but prone to cracking and somewhat challenging to process. This wood is primarily used for paneling in traditional Korean and Japanese furniture, making chests entirely crafted from persimmon wood a rarity. Additionally, persimmon wood tends to be relatively expensive.

Korean wardrobe chest. Persimmon panels.

Similar to some other plants within the genus “Diospyros,” older persimmon heartwood is black or dark brown in color, which sharply contrasts with the sapwood and younger heartwood, which are pale in color. Since the majority of the persimmon tree consists of sapwood, it is considered perishable and susceptible to insect infestations. The persimmon is a fruit tree that produces the kaki fruit.

Kaki fruit

Common utilization of persimmon wood on the front of a “Nong“.

Due to the unique two colors characteristics of this wood, persimmon wood was often use to create mirror image. The patterns on each side of the central red line are exact opposites.

Korean Nong. Persimmon wood panels. Illustration of the “Mirror image” effect.
Mirror image created on this double doors of a Korean chest.
Korean “Nong”. Stackable clothing chest.
Persimmon wood. Yellow brass fittings.
Late 19th c to early 20th century.
Height 128cm, length 79,3cm, width 41cm.
Collection: Daegu University Central Museum. Korea.


Large contemporary wardrobes made with persimmon wood.
Large contemporary wardrobes made with persimmon wood
Front page of a publication on an exhibition of persimmon wooden furniture in Korea.
Detail of persimmon wood on a Korean piece of furniture.


Persimmon wood, iron fittings.
H. 95cm, W. 111cm, D. 50cm.
JANG. Two level chest. Pine and persimmon wood panel. Yellow brass fittings. 20th century. Private collection
Inkstone box on stand. persimmon wood.
Pine frame and persimmon wood panels. Auction, Seoul, Korea


Chests constructed entirely from persimmon wood are rare. To the best of our knowledge, there are very few such pieces, with one located in Seoul and another on display at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis (featured in the photo on the right below).

Bandaji. Elm and paulownia, persimmon front. Yellow brass fittings. Collection National Museum of Korea. For this chest thick persimmon wood veneer panel was used to build the front.
Bandaji. Persimmon wood with wrought iron fittings and oil finish. H. 90cm, W. 106,6cm, D. 45,7cm. Dated 1800s. Collection Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, USA. A rare piece made of solid persimmon wood.

Hereunder photo of a coin chest made of persimmon wood veneer presented for auction in the States in 2023.

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