"Shipjangsaengdo" Painted Folding Screen (The 10 Symbols of Longevity)

A painting from the Joseon Dynasty that depicts the dream of a long and healthy life

By National Palace Museum of Korea

Painting of Ten Longevity Symbols on Ten-panel Folding Screen (19th century~Early 20th century)National Palace Museum of Korea

The 10 Symbols of Longevity ("shipjangsaengdo") is a painting depicting the 10 elements of nature that symbolize eternal youth. These symbols are: the sun, clouds, mountains, water, pine trees, turtles, deer, cranes, peaches, and the herb of eternal youth.

The 10 Symbols of Longevity reveals a cultural tradition unique to Korea. Of the 10 symbols, not all of them last eternally as the sun and the mountains do. Nevertheless, they were included because they have a special association with longevity in Korean culture.

This splendid 10 Symbols of Longevity screen was used at various palace banquets.

The painter was able to harmonize the 10 different themes effectively on the large canvas.

The 10 Symbols of Longevity was a popular theme throughout the country, but the quality of art kept in palaces that was associated with it was much higher because it was produced by the best artists.

The 10 Symbols of Longevity screen kept at the National Palace Museum of Korea reveals the characteristics of decorative art from the Joseon Dynasty.

Credits: Story

Jongsuk Lee, Kyungjee Park, National Palace Museum of Korea

Credits: All media
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