Portrait of Emperor Gojong

Chae Yong-sinKorea, Late Joseon dynasty

Sookmyung Women’s University Museum

Sookmyung Women’s University Museum
Seoul, South Korea

The painting record in the upper right corner shows it is the face of Emperor Gojong at the age of 49. According to the Bongmyungsagui (Record of copy made at the order of the king), and the Seokgangilgui (Journal of Chae Yongsin), Chae Yongsin portrayed the face of Emperor Gojong in January~April, 1901, after he made some portraits of King Taejo and successive reigns in the winter of 1900. This work is assumed to be one of the copies made after the portrait drawn in 1901. So far, three of the portraits of Gojong's face at the age of 49 are remaining. All of them are the portraits of front view, describing the emperor wearing Iksungwan, or an official hat, and Hwangryongpo, or an official uniform of emperor. The copies in the possession of the National Museum in Jeonju and Wongwang University Museum are depicting a full-length figure, and a copy in private possession is describing a half-length figure. This copy shows the same drawing, but it is portraying an upper half of the body. With the 3-dimensionall depiction of the hat and the delicate description of face including the muscles of the face, the copy reveals the photographic description, the unique style of Chae Yongsin. The discolored beard makes the face look sick, but the whole appearance looks young for his age. Judging from the record of birth year, date, and hour in the upper left corner, it is assumed to have been circulated for private enshrinement to celebrate the birth of the emperor.


  • Title: Portrait of Emperor Gojong
  • Creator: (Assumably) Chae_Yongsin
  • Date Created: Korea, Late Joseon dynasty
  • Physical Dimensions: w30x h30.7 ㎝
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Sookmyung Women's University Museum
  • Medium: colored in printing paper

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