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Geese Returning Home

Geese Returning Home

노안도 (蘆雁圖)

1500s

Hanging scroll; ink on paper

Overall: 182.9 x 49.6 cm (72 x 19 1/2 in.); Painting only: 102.9 x 32.7 cm (40 1/2 x 12 7/8 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1993.159

Description

The scene of geese descending to a sandbar originated with a very popular Chinese poem and theme in painting, Eight Views of Xiao Xiang River. The geese are the symbol of the fall because they migrate from northern areas like Siberia to stay in Korea during the late fall and winter. In Korea, the word for geese in the grove, noan, has the same pronunciation with the word for "the comfortable life at old age." With this double meaning for a happy life, the motif of returning geese gained popularity both in Goryeo porcelain and in Joseon paintings.

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