As for details which cannot be seen by visual observation alone, a study of reference materials or an analysis using modern devices can help acquire fuller knowledge of an object.
At a glance, an eobo may appear to be made entirely of the outer material. However, analysis is required to verify the actual construction. When historical records written at the time of creation are examined and eobo are analyzed using modern equipment, certain truths emerge that were previously hidden to the naked eye.
The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty (조선왕조실록, 朝鮮王朝實錄) as well as other archives and manuals contain records of the entire production process of eobo.
As a result of the composition analysis, gold (Au) accounted for a high percentage at about 80%, and smaller amounts of copper (Cu), silver (Ag), zinc (Zn), and mercury (Hg) were detected. Although limited to surface analysis due to the characteristics of the analytical equipment, an assumption can be made that the core base metal is brass based on the detection of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn).
The dimensions and composition of the eobo were compared against data found within Records of the Supervising Office for the Funeral of Queen Consort Jangnyeol. However, many unsolved mysteries still persist, including the internal composition and assembly method. The National Palace Museum of Korea will continue the research to unravel all mysteries surrounding the eobo.
NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM OF KOREA
Seung-hui Kang & Seong-jun An