Painting of Peonies on Four-panel Folding Screen

19th century~Early 20th century

National Palace Museum of Korea

National Palace Museum of Korea
Seoul, South Korea

This painting is made up of several panels, painted with peony branches and full blossoms. A similar patterned painting repeats in each panel, revealing its strong decorative character. Folding screens of peonies housed at the National Palace Museum of Korea can be classified into three types: four-paneled folding screen, six-paneled folding screen, and eight-paneled folding screen. Some are as high as three meters in height. In terms of details, some paintings only show peony stalks while others display rocks on the ground where peonies are growing. There are minor differences in painting style, but overall this type of screen is characterized by a vertical composition, as well as its flat and schematic style. Peony in full bloom was considered as a symbol of wealth and prosperity because of its large and glamorous appearance, and it also had the nickname of “King of Flowers.”Since a peony motif had an expanded meaning of the peace and prosperity of the state, peony paintings used to be produced on a mass scale to be used for important rites of the court. Folding screens with peonies were used not only for auspicious ceremonies, but also for state funerals, royal rituals held at the Royal Ancestral Shrine, and the enshrinement of the king’s portrait in the Royal Portraits Hall.

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  • Title: Painting of Peonies on Four-panel Folding Screen
  • Date Created: 19th century~Early 20th century
  • Rights: National palace museum of Korea
  • Medium: Paintings