Ladies Knife

Accession Number

Ladies Knife


Artist Nationality
Korean (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
19th century

Medium & Support

5 11/16 x 7/8 in. (14.3 x 2.1 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Subject matter
It was used with Korean traditional ornaments worn by women. But in emergency, it was used for self-protection or attack. This traditions happened in Gorye dynasty and became general in Joseon Dynasty.

Physical Description
It is a knife made of silver. The sword blade was made of steel. Floral design was printed on the knob and Deer and bamboo was printed on the cover.

This small knife is worn by a man. The handle and sheath are decorated with ten symbols of longevity against ring-punched background. The other side features engravings of plantains and lotus buds. Plantain symbolizes resuscitation from death and is one of the Eight Treasures of Taoism. The lotus flower symbolizes purity and the law of cause and effect as it emerges from mud (dirt) and bears seeds.

[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2017) p. 285]


Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)
Arms and Armor

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
hand knives
women (female humans)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ FFW, Mezzanine ➜ M07 (Woon-hyung Lee and Korea Foundation Gallery of Korean Art)