A wardrobe chest (Kwanbok-Jang or Uigori-Jang) has much larger doors than any other type of Jang.
This type of wardrobe illustrates the end of the “Hermit Kingdom,” as Korea was known for its isolation. Towards the end of the 19th century and the emergence of economic industrialization, Korea opened its borders, and some Western influence emerged in the country, even affecting furniture design.
It is composed of two compartments within a single frame but occasionally may be constructed in two pieces and has a stand for raising it above the heated floor. It is among the tallest chests among Korean furniture.
The lower compartment was used to store folded clothing, while the upper compartment was for hanging clothes.
These types of large chests were developed during the later period of the Joseon dynasty, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
A study of photographic documents reveals that Uigori Jang first appeared in the 19th century. They were dark in color, without decoration, and had a limited number of hinges. The Uigori Jang was initially made to store official clothes and therefore belonged to the upper class.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the pieces were larger and more ornate, with the addition of metal parts or mother-of-pearl inlays. The top floor also featured two large mirrors.
Due to their large size, they were often made of paulownia wood for two reasons: its light weight and insect-repellent properties. Some would have incised motifs or Chinese characters on their front doors.