Decorative Paintings of the Royal Court

National Palace Museum of Korea

Paintings were especially utilized in various spaces to express the wishes of the court and its dignity. A variety of formats existed, such as screens spread hebind the living spaces, paper sliding doors, and wall paintings drawn directly on the walls or on silk or paper pasted on the wall. 

Painting of the Sun, Moon, and Five Peaks on Six-panel Folding Screen, 19th century~Early 20th century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Six-Fold Screen of the Sun, Moon, and Five Peaks
Joseon

A variety of formats existed, such as screens spread behind the living spaces, paper sliding doors, and wall paintings drawn directly on the walls or on silk or paper pasted on the wall. These were made to display the king’s majesty, add glamour to state ceremonies, and to decorate the royal court and the living quarters of the royal family.

Painting of Peonies on Four-panel Folding Screen, 19th century~Early 20th century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Eight-Fold Screen of Peonies and Rocks
Joseon

At state-sponsored celebratory events, screen paintings of peonies and the ten longevity symbols were frequently set up to display the splendor and dignity of the royal court. Instead of being depicted realistically, the paintings of peonies displayed at court had exaggerated large blossoms painted in bright colors arranged schematically along the vertical picture plane. Being symbols of peace and prosperity, they were frequently used in solemn state rites such as the auspicious ceremonies.

Painting of Ten Longevity Symbols on Ten-panel Folding Screen, 19th century~Early 20th century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Ten-Fold Screen of the Ten Symbols of Longevity
Joseon

The screen of Ten Longevity Symbols was also frequently displayed in the royal palaces. The ten longevity symbols consist of any ten of the sun, mountains, water, clouds, rocks, pine trees, tortoises, deer, cranes, bamboo, herbs of eternal youth, and peaches. Bearing wishes for long and healthy lives of the royal family, the screens were placed behind the queen or the crown prince during palace banquets such as the wedding or the sixtieth birthday of a royal.

Set of Sliding Doors Decorated with Painting of Ten Longevity Symbols, 19th century~Early 20th century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Set of Sliding Doors Decorated with Painting of Ten Longevity Symbols
19th century - Early 20th century

In addition to screens, there were diverse formats of paintings in the palaces. The sliding doors between rooms were often decorated with auspicious symbols of the sun, moon, and five peaks, and the ten longevity symbols.

Painting of Shelves Full of Books on Ten-panel Folding Screen, 19th century~Early 20th century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Ten-Fold Screen of Shelves Full of Books
Early 20th century

Screen paintings of bookshelves chaeggado(冊架圖) expressing the high esteem on scholarship were placed close to the king and the crown prince.

Painting of Books and Stationery on Six-panel Folding Screen, 19th century~Early 20th century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Painting of Books and Stationery on Six-panel Folding Screen
19th century-Early 20th century

Painting of Shelves Full of Books on Ten-panel Folding Screen, 19th century~Early 20th century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Painting of Shelves Full of Books on Ten-panel Folding Screen
19th century-Early 20th century

Painting of Shelves Full of Books on Ten-panel Folding Screen, 19th century~Early 20th century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Painting of Shelves Full of Books on Ten-panel Folding Screen
19th century-Early 20th century

Painting of Wild Geese and Reeds on Ten-panel Folding Screen, Sketches by Yang Gihun (楊基薰, 1843-1919 or later), 1905년, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Ten-Fold Screen of Wild Geese and Reeds
Korean Empire, 1905

The Chinese characters for “no(蘆)” reeds and “an(雁)” geese sound similar to the characters for “no(老)” old age and “an(安)” wellbeing, and thus have the meaning of “happiness and health in old age”.

Extra View of Manmul-Sang, Diamond Mountain Mural from Huijeongdang Hall, Changdeokgung Palace, Early 20th Century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Extra View of Manmul-Sang, Diamond Mountain Mural from Huijeongdang Hall, Changdeokgung Palace.

Extra View of Manmul-Sang, Diamond Mountain Mural from Huijeongdang Hall, Changdeokgung Palace, Early 20th Century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea
Wonderful View of Chongseok-Jeong Mural from Huijeongdang Hall, Changdeokgung Palace, Early 20th Century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Wonderful View of Chongseok-Jeong Mural from Huijeongdang Hall, Changdeokgung Palace.

Wonderful View of Chongseok-Jeong Mural from Huijeongdang Hall, Changdeokgung Palace, Early 20th Century, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea
White Crane Mural from Daejojeon Hall in Changdeokgung Palace, Kim Eunho (金殷鎬,1892-1979), 1920, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea


White Cranes Mural from Daejojeon Hall, Changdeokgung Palace

White Crane Mural from Daejojeon Hall in Changdeokgung Palace, Kim Eunho (金殷鎬,1892-1979), 1920, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea
White Crane Mural from Daejojeon Hall in Changdeokgung Palace, Kim Eunho (金殷鎬,1892-1979), 1920, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea
Phoenix Mural from Daejojeon Hall in Changdeokgung Palace, Oh Il Young (吳一英, 1890-1960), Yi Yong-u (李用雨, 1902-1953), 1920, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea

Phoenixes Mural from Daejojeon Hall, Changdeokgung Palace

Phoenix Mural from Daejojeon Hall in Changdeokgung Palace, Oh Il Young (吳一英, 1890-1960), Yi Yong-u (李用雨, 1902-1953), 1920, From the collection of: National Palace Museum of Korea
Credits: Story

NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM OF KOREA

Su-hee Park.

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