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Seven Jeweled Mountain

Seven Jeweled Mountain

칠보산도 (七寶山圖)

late 1800s

Ten-panel screen; ink and color on silk

Overall: 185.2 x 42.9 cm (72 15/16 x 16 7/8 in.); Each screen: 158.2 x 42.9 cm (62 5/16 x 16 7/8 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1989.6

Description

With a bird’s-eye view, this ten-panel folding screen portrays the famous Seven Jeweled Mountain 칠보산 in North Korea. Ancient volcanic eruptions shaped the mountain’s unique and awe-inspiring terrain such as phallic-shaped pillars (panel #5, from the right); a large flat-topped, steep-sided cliff (panels #7 and #8), and a rugged mountain composed of metamorphic and igneous rocks (panels #9 and #10). The tradition of landscape painting that details actual natural sites and captures their topographic features in Korea began in the 1700s and continued onward.

While such natural wonders were beloved as popular destinations for tourism and pilgrimage, after the Korean War (1950–53), these sites in North Korea are no longer accessible to the outside world. This folding screen detailing the mountain’s distinctive topography feeds our imagination and longing for such an unattainable place.

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