After being laid low by sickness, David and Michael, our son, stormed an estate sale without me and carried off loot. Unable to roll out of my bed and miserable with bronchitis when they brought their treasures home, they presented them to me in the bedroom as if I were a particularly congested maharani: two carved wooden ducks, an ornate pitcher, 3 antique German etchings, and a couple of mirrors.
The wooden ducks intrigued me. A colored silk tassel tied to a hole in the bill decorates each one.
They are 20th century, but represent a wonderful tradition. Korean wedding ducks. The reason they play a special role in Korean weddings is due to ducks’ propensity to mate for life. The original practice of the groom bearing a pair of live ducks or geese to his bride-to-be’s family has shifted to presenting beautifully carved wooden ones. Photo Source.
In Korean tradition, selection of the carver was important. He required possession of five fortunes: wealth, health, no family history of divorce, a good wife, and many sons. As the carver worked, he prayed the couple would acquire a lifetime of happiness, peace, prosperity and many children. He carved for honor, not money.
The carver of our ducks used two pieces of wood to carve and assemble.
For a wedding ceremony, both ducks are wrapped in a cloth with only their necks and heads are visible. After the ceremony, the groom’s mother tosses the duck to the bride. If she catches it in her apron, her first child will be a boy.
During the course of a marriage, the ducks are prominently displayed in the home. Either partner may arrange the ducks to communicate feelings: side-by-side means marital harmony; tail-to-tail means things are a bit rocky; bill-to-bill means exceptional marital bliss.
Check out the photo of this happy couple. I’ve added an arrow so you can easily find their ducks — and the bills are touching. Photo source.
Before I leave you, I want to share a photo of the elegant, engraved copper pitcher the men brought me. It’s tall — 13.5 inches. While I wanted to believe it was ancient and exotic, an appraiser identified it as North American dated circa 1900. There is something Art Nouveau about it. I polished it last night with a simple paste of lemon juice and salt. Look at all those floral arabesques.
Thanks for visiting us. Have a wonderful week.
Ann Marie and David
French Country Cottage