Write Around PAM: Comb Chest

Comb Chest, 11 1/8 in x 10 1/2 in x 11 5/8 inches, persimmon wood with white brass (baekdong) fittings. A photo of a wooden, cube-shaped chest with numerous brass fittings decorating its edges. The chest is a warm brown with dark graining. On the front of the chest, near the top, is a latch in the shape of a turtle on a large smooth plate. The top of the latch is in the shape of the turtle’s head and is attached to the lid by a horizontal hinge. Below the plate, there are two, small drawers adjacent to each other, each with a flat, round pull with a small tail at the bottom pointing toward the outside edge of the chest. Below these drawers is a long drawer with a pull in the shape of a stylized bat, its wings outstretched. The edges of the chest are embellished with triangular fittings that have scalloped edges and tiny, pierced holes. The fittings sit over the corners and edges of the chest at right angles. The chest sits on raised feet connected by a decorative apron.

When crisis strikes, as it has in Oregon over these last weeks with wildfires ravaging communities and smoke blanketing the state, we are reminded of what is most important to us: family, friends, community, pets, items that hold memories and carry meaning, and more. This Comb Chest evokes this same feeling for us: of treasuring what is most important, of holding it close and keeping it safe. We invite you to spend some time writing and reflecting on who and what you are holding close in these times of continued upheaval.

Here are two prompts to help you get started. You can choose one, both, or write whatever else comes. Set a timer for 10 minutes and just keep the pen moving. 

I’m holding onto… / In this chest you’ll find…

Writing in community is powerful. We are grateful to our longtime partner Write Around Portland for the writing prompts and inspiration. You can revisit past posts from Sundays this summer, and look for continuing weekly posts through the fall. Please share your work with us! @writearoundpdx @portlandartmuseum #RespectWritingCommunity #WriteAroundPAM  

Korea, Gyeongsangnam-do province, Tongyeong area, Comb Chest, 19th century, persimmon wood with white brass (baekdong) fittings, Gift of David C. Davies, public domain, 92.97.45 

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